Dangerous Dogs In Your Neighborhood?

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This evening I was relaxing, scrolling through the news online and checking out dog pictures and videos on social media, when I came across a story that just made my blood run cold. It was posted by an acquaintance who lives one town away from me, and detailed how her husband had gone out that morning for a jog with their Australian Shepherd Zazu; they take a six-mile run together on-leash, four days a week. One this morning’s run, however, not a block from their home, Zazu was attacked by two Rottweilers, who were loose, with their owners nowhere to be seen.

The police were summoned, the dogs caught and impounded, Zazu rushed to the emergency veterinary hospital, but his wounds were too serious and he could not be saved. A neighbor, who heard the tumult and witnessed the scene, identified the dogs as belonging to a couple who lives nearby. They are older, she told the police – and one of their adult children who also lives there breeds the dogs and sells puppies for extra income. Usually, the dogs are never taken out of the yard – but they do get loose from time to time.

Loose dogs in the neighborhood

Personally, I don’t think there is a place in society for dogs who kill. And while no one is perfect, and everyone has had a dog who has gotten loose before, when you own large, powerful dogs (especially more than one), you have a greater-than-average responsibility to see to it that your dogs can not escape the security of your yard. I hope the owners of these dogs are held responsible for Zazu’s death, and I hope the dogs who murdered Zazu are not released back into the custody of their owners – or, perhaps anyone else.

I know that’s harsh. It’s not the dogs’ fault that they were inadequately contained. It’s not their fault that their owners failed to socialize them adequately, so that they saw a leashed dog as prey or an interloper in their neighborhood, as opposed to a potential playmate. It’s not their fault that they have been denied the stimulation of an active dog like Zazu, locked up with no exercise, reduced to a life of breeding and reproduction, over and over.

It’s not fair. But it’s not fair to Zazu and his owners, either, that two very powerful, aggressive dogs were in a position to kill. What if the dog they attacked had been being walked by an elderly or frail person? The person might be dead, too. What if the dog they attacked was being walked by a mother who also was pushing a stroller with a baby inside? I shudder to think of it.

People who keep dogs in a socially impoverished environment, for the sole pupose of breeding puppies to sell – that’s even worse. This type of person is literally the backyard breeder in the derogatory trope.

I am hoping that the dogs are designated as dangerous and steps are taken to make sure they can’t be a threat to anyone else in the community. And my heart goes out to the owners of poor Zazu; his dad will be forever traumatized by the memory of the TEN MINUTES he struggled to save his dog as Zazu was being fatally mauled.

What steps can Zazu’s owners take?

Zazu with his owner

I asked someone I know who is an animal control officer in a different community: What should Zazu’s owners do? She said, if there is any kind of record of the dogs being loose before, or any previous complaint made about their aggression, the local animal control could take steps to get a dangerous dog designation for the Rottweilers. If there is any sort of record of the dogs doing this before, or even just being picked up for running loose before, she would press the local court for the dangerous dog designation.

But if this is the first record of any complaint about the dogs, then their owners are likely to be fined only for the dogs “running at large,” asked for proof of licensing and rabies vaccination (and possibly fined for lack of same), and charged for the short impound; all that Zazu’s owners can do is sue for Zazu’s final vet bill, including cremation.

Obviously, I love dogs, and don’t relish the idea of any dogs being euthanized. But large, aggressive dogs in the hands of owners who can’t or won’t contain them? I can’t imagine living and walking my own dogs in that neighborhood.

Do any of you have any advice for Zazu’s owners? Have you ever been in a situation like this?

217 COMMENTS

    • I had a similar experience many years ago with my dog, Teddy. He was a mixed breed male. Airedale Terrier/German Shepherd/Grey Hound. I was walking him on leash and was on my front porch. I attached my dog to the porch railing by his leash. I took a bag of garbage around to the back of the building, and when I came back for my dog, there was a large rottweiler, and it had my dog by the throat. I yelled at the other dog, hit it with my fists and kicked with my feet. But the rottweiler would not let go of my dog. Fortunately for my dog, the rottweiler had been reported for roaming at large. The police were just around the corner looking for it. They yelled get back. So I did. They then sprayed pepper spray directly into the other dog’s eyes. But it didn’t phase him. He still wouldn’t let go of my dog’s throat. One of the officers then pulled out his gun and shot rottweiler for a fatal result. If the rottweiler would not have been reported and the police not have been there, my dog probably would not have lived. Three weeks later the rottweiler’s owners came by and told me that their dog was such a big baby.

      • Im 71 and ive had large dogs all my life. Multiple large dogs all at one time. Never ever did they attack another animal. Because they knew mommy would not tolerate it; yes i said mommy. I baby and spoil my dogs but i also train and socialize them; if the owners chose to have large aggressive dogs, then they need to be held accountable. Since different states have different rules, i would call the state dog warden or animal control at the main state office. Perhaps search online for an attorney adept at dog law. Such attorneys do exist. And sadly i agree with the author, if those dogs have killed, and have a history of escaping…..then they need to be humanely euthanized. Sounds harsh, but im sick of peoples ” so called babies ” inflicting that degree of harm.

        • I agree. In my city we had an 80+ yr old lady walking her small dog and two Pit bulls was running loose, mauled her and killer her. The dogs were euthanized and owner charged. But to this day has not served one day. I can’t imagine the suffering that poor soul went through before she died. Her small dog was killed also. Bad dogs, have bad owners who should be held accountable.

          • I too fell bad for what happened to this man and his poor defenseless dog, should never have happened, I own pits but mine are always on leash and never aggressive, as a matter of fact one I lost 2yrs ago use to protect me, we use to walk around the block on leash and of course my neighbors who still today just let theirs run loose and poop, in everyone’s yard, had 3 large dogs that tried to attack me, my dog stood in front of me to protect me and wouldn’t move, I screamed until they came out and got their dogs. This happened 3 times and I fianally gave up walking with her as I was afraid for myself and my dog, I still have 2 but l always know where they are even if my neighbors don’t control theirs I control mine for their safety because of their breed, not all pits are bad,, I blame owners not dogs

          • Exactly. Bad dogs have bad owners. We need much improved legislation concerning all aspects of dog care or lack thereof.
            I wonder if they could sue those dogs’ owners? For pain and suffering and all the years they lost with Zazu.
            I’m so sorry this happened. It would break my heart.

      • I’m so sorry. My Pomeranian was attacked on leash by a pit bull just over 8 months ago. I hope you both fully recover. We saw a pit bull today and neither of us reacted.

    • I have never had this happen, but I carry pepper spray with me. Don’t know if it would stop them, but may slow the action down until help arrives. So sorry for your friends….the horror that man witnessed will stay with him a long time.
      shame on the rottie’s people.

    • Happened to me just a month ago, A large pit bull attacked me (I am 64 years old and a 100 disabled vet) and my 10 year old corgi while on our routine morning walk. Nothing I tried stopped him and I had to shoot the pit bull right there in the street. I LOVE dogs but will NOT tolerate this kind of stuff. I always carry a pistol on my walk. For anti gun people…. wait till it happens to you. You only have seconds to react. The dog came at me after I started kicking it. There is NO time to wait for help. Trust me.

      • When I was living in Reno years ago, my beloved sheltie Winifred was mortally wounded at the neck by an aggressive, loose rottweiller. I took the owner to court on principle and “won” the case, but she never paid for her crime. This was a long time ago, but I still suffer flashbacks from the horrible experience of having a family member fatally attacked right before my eyes.

      • So glad you had a gun. I hope your dog’s injuries were not too awful. The irresponsible owner should have been held to criminal charges in my opinion.

      • You were protecting your loved one from an aggressive attack. If you did not have a weapon you may have both been killed. Good you still have your dog and shame on these people who think there power dogs are so kind within their own family. Responsibility for training comes when you have these type of dogs.

        • My Corgi is fine now. He had some neck wounds and a bad limp for a month. That was the 3rd time we have been attacked. A German Shepard and another pit bull were the first two. I had to beat the others off with a club. Pistol is a last resort but I have and will use it when needed. We have leash laws here in Jacksonville NC but people just open their doors and let their dogs out.

    • I live in a rural area where we must have dogs that kill to protect our livestock, and us from things like coyotes, mountain lions, and other wild animals. My dogs have kept me from being hurt more than once. There is always an exception.

    • Sadly, it’s not uncommon, and law enforcement does little about it, especially if you live in an unincorporated or other rural area. A “neighbor” (actually a transient renting a mobile home on the property of a resident neighbor) continually let his hunting dog run loose. It killed 24 of my ducks and all the other poultry flocks in the area. I was told by LE that I should just shoot the dog if I caught it in the act of predation. I had complained about this dog and chased it from my property several times. It knocked me down twice (73-year-old, 114-lb female), but. because the dog didn’t try to bite or otherwise “attack” me when it knocked me off my feet, it was not deemed “aggressive”.

  1. I have no words to describe how they must feel but I have always feared this too. We live on 20 acres in the country and owners are the best. I try to picture what I would do if some strange dog came up to my dogs who run off leash. I always carry leashes to hook them up but the what ifs run through my mind.

  2. I live in an area where many dog owners do not have control of their dogs. My friend and I have started carrying whistles and pepper spray. I also have a small tazor. It is very scary. I hope Zazu’s owners sue for expenses.

    • In my experience, unfortunately we have been attacked by dogs whose owners lose control of them more often than we have had issues with loose street dogs where we live here in Ecuador. I have taken steps to educate myself on how to (as safely as possible) break up fights, and carry pepper spray that clips to my leash. I also tell owners from a distance whom I can tell don’t have full control over a dog who is fixating on mine that mine is unfriendly and they need to watch theirs. Saying your dog is unfriendly usually helps them shape up and be more vigilant. With loose dogs, bending over as if to pick up a rock off the ground, stomping and yelling, and posturing aggressively has prevented any attacks so far- you have to be assertive and proactive!

    • As a dog walker I carry Spray Shield and have used it more times than I can count. Although it has always worked successfully after 2 back to back incidences I decided to carry a stun gun as back up. I shy away from pepper spray as I don’t want it to hurt the dogs I’m walking or blow back into my face.

      I had one experience where I did not have gear with me and a man walking a Rottie and 2 Bostons lost control of the Rottie’s leash. I backed away forcing the dog I was walking behind me to keep him out of harm’s way. I hit the center divider and fell backward and held back the Rot with my feet to it’s chest. I was still holding my dog back, but focused on the bear of a dog looming over me, while the man was to my right trying to regain contro of itl. To my surprise, when I looked over my left shoulder at my dog, one of the Bostons who was on a retractable lead was all the way around attacking my dog! Needless to say I was incredibly shook up and the dog I was with had some minor bites on his face.

      One more reason among many that I wish retractable leashes would get outlawed. What a recipe for disaster to be walking with this group of dogs together on these subpar tools 🙁

    • I am a state licensed Rescue of Dobermans =but also rescue and train German Shepherds and Rotties. I do not take my dogs out to dog parks. Realize this is not where this lady is coming from . However. I work with mine in a 2-3 acrea area and I use reg leashes long and a reg chin collar. I do not take them where I know there may be a problem. The thing that has saved my dogs and myself several times is a Stun Baton I bought from Crook Busters. You can arc it in the air and you do not have to hit the oncoming dog to scare them. I had another trainer tell me about this baton and I even carry it myself when I run. But usually have my dog or dogs with me. Mine have never bitten or attacked anyone. If I see trouble coming I do a reverse and start walking the opposite direction. But the stun Gun and a whistle usually will do it. The owners of the dogs that attacked your dog need to be held responsible. The idea of looking for an attorney that knows the laws in this is Paramont. So sorry for your loss. I have been doing training and rescue for over 30 years. I have NEVER been bitten.

    • I have bear spray but dont really want to use it because the wind could blow it back into our face and does not always stop a dog. When I hike I also carry a trekking pole with a sharp point. My dog is always on leash and last year on a very quiet night a large shepherd ran from behind a fence across the street to attach her. I picked up a stick because did not take a pole on such a short walk. The dog was about a foot from my dog when the owner heard me screaming and called the dog. I really thought I was going to loose my dog that night and will NEVER go out without my pole again. It might not always save her but at least I think I would have a fighting chance. Also just ordered an air horn called Dog Horn but have not tried it yet

    • I just ordered a petgentle hi pitch sound devise to help train my very noisy terrier to stop barking at everything. In the reviews I read that several people carry it with them on a walk to deter approaching off leash dogs successfully. I haven’t received mine yet so I can’t personally validate it’s effectiveness.

    • It is NEVER the DOG-it is always the owner. You have locks on your doors. Should have locks on your gates. You should always know where your dogs are. I have 4 and I know where they are all the time-including the rescues. No excuse for this owner that owned the w Rotties. I have owned them and they are smart dogs-but you have to at least be as smart as they are-if you OWN them.

  3. So awful- I lived in an apt bldg in NYC and I had a male english cocker and a dachshund.A young stock broker guy( always away at work) lived in the building with a massive young rottweiler he had imported from Germany.The dog was bored and aggressive and he went after me and my spaniel on several occasions.The worst was when a young woman was walking him and the owner was out of town – I managed to run in the building before she completely lost control.The dog was aggressive to me too even without my dog growling and menacing when I walked past him on the street and he also tried to launch himself out of a window when he spied us downstairs one day.Needless to say it was not comfortable and the owner was irresponsible letting him loose on a river promenade a block away from us.I complained to the management( who ironically were fond of bully breeds they had pitbulls etc) Eventually I moved but that rottweiler may have been a pet but he was also a killing machine.I think this story is so heartbreaking I couldn’t even look a the beautiful photos of Zuzu without despair.I also had other incidents where unprovoked rottweilers have growled at me( without my dogs) in the city and although I love all dogs I think there are serious issues involved with owning one- why do you want a killing machine unless you are guarding Fort Knox.This is such a sad and tragic story.So many irresponsible dog owners in this world!

    • It is from ignorance like this that people label particular breeds “killing machines”. I have grown up with Rotties and Goldens and none of our Rotties are “killing machines”. I have witnessed several bites from cocker spaniels that required stitches, but I don’t label them “biting machines”. When you have a large breed – of any kind – the owner must take extra responsibility to socialize and train the animal because it is true that a bite from a large breed can do more damage vs a small breed. However, there are several small breeds that are annoying by constantly nipping and jumping on people – these owners should train their dogs as well. I’m sorry that your experience with a neighbor required you to move, but it was the owner’s fault he did not properly train the dog and exercise the dog. Rotties are incredibly social animals and it is not fair for them or any breed to be left alone all day – only for the occasional walk.

      • I know that blocky headed large dogs get a bad rap. However I don’t think that the previous comment was about all Rottweilers. I think she said it was a Rottweiler so people knew what size it was.

      • Dogs that attack other dogs need to be removed from the “owner” and placed with competent people. I believe in euthanizing a dog less than most believe in the death penalty. A lot of people would disagree with that, but a human always consciously makes the decision to kill another and the human Knows it’s wrong in a situation like this. The dog was not given the environment needed to learn that and it doesnt matter if (s)he is a rottweiler or a mini terrier: if the dog attacks another, the person who owns him should not have the dog. They have failed the dog on every level of what a dog is supposed to expect from a human. To the friends of this article who effectively, in my mind, just lost a child- that’s how I veiw my dogs and God I don’t even know what I would do if I had to experience this- go after the owners of those dogs who attacked, not the dogs directly. Those people have no business owning those dogs, let alone breeding them. There is no advice that can soothe that kind of loss. Find a group that works with people who lose their furkids- http://www.lapoflove.com may be a great starting place.. my heart goes to the couple that lost their fur baby, and I am so sorry to hear about this.

    • Kind of crazy to think a certain breed has it in for you. Tragic what happened to this dog but like in almost ALL cases clueless owners are the real culprits. And dogs certainly sense fear and it’s pretty obvious

      • Maybe I missed it, but I did not read that they thought any certain breed “had it in for” them.

        I can understand your sensitivity because large blocky headed dogs are blamed for a lot of things. Breed discrimination laws are an abomination

    • The dogs being put down is not much of a solution because it will not solve anything in the long run. The owners will get more dogs, fail to socialize them properly again, and will let them get loose again. I think we need a dangerous dog owner designation more than a dangerous dog designation, which will only apply to the same dog that was loose and aggressive before. The owners need to face harsher penalties that will provide enough motivation for them to secure their dogs (which will include any future unsocialized dogs they will own).

      • I know how terrifying it is to have a dog attack you. Both my older dog and I were bitten by a dog that broke through a screen door. As a result of that attack my older dog developed fear based reactivity and that has been a long hard haul to work with and train her to not react. Again last year while walking both my dogs a very large dog came at us aggressively and my dogs stood their ground in front of me as owner ran up and dragged it away. I carry pepper spray and a small taser now. But, my gentle, and well trained pups are both rottweilers and definitely not killing machines. Because they are large and powerful I have made sure to train them and socialize them as any owner should do. I wish we had solutions to people who do not train and care for their often dangerous as a result, dogs. This is on the increase in my neighborhood and wherever we travel

        • We have a young field lab that was bit by a dog at the dog park (yes, I hate dog parks, but we were slowly and carefully socializing them) and her brother was bit by a rescue great dane. Our female began as a little shy and timid, but now she’s a little reactive. She’s not mean, but she feels she needs to defend herself. You are right, it is a long slow process to reverse. I feel we failed her.

      • True. But if it happens again with a different dog, there will be a record that these particular owners have had this problem before. That is when the courts step in and rule that those owners are no longer allowed to own dogs. Monitoring that is more difficult. They just move to a different county or even state and start all over.

      • This is the best response so far. Stop labeling the dogs and start labeling the owners. They need hefty fines and should be shut down

      • i agree wholeheartedly – provided the owners can be identified. If you are attacked – you are too busy trying to get away, or defend yourself to make that ID, in most cases. Unless you can get Animal Control to find & capture said dog (or dogs) and THEN, ID the owner – zip will change. While having the dog put down sounds mean, it will put a temporary halt, to that particular (proven) danger. You do not know if the owner’s next dog (if any) will be 100% the same in its behavior, or not.

  4. So very tragic. In Tennessee, we have the Ti-Bo Bill (thanks to a TN senator). This bill lays the ground for owners whose dogs are attacked by other dogs (not under proper supervision of their owners). You can be awarded up to $5,000. This happened to the TN senator and his dog, Bo, was mauled to death. It happened to me as well – my Dalmatian was not killed but sustained a few nasty bites and had to go to ER. The other owners wouldn’t step up to the plate and pay the vet bills so we took them to court citing the T-Bo Bill. We were awarded $4,000. Another year later, the same dog was out roaming the neighborhood and killed one of my neighbor’s senior labs. They were devastated. Back to court we all went. Irresponsible owners are a danger to humans as well as pets.

  5. Research the state statutes and local ordinances re:dangerous dogs. Use the law that fits the situation best.

    Bring documentation of the dog’s fatal injuries to animal control and give a statement about what happened, along with the laws. Ask them to deem the dogs dangerous. This usually requires an escape proof enclosure on the property, muzzle and 4’ lead off the property.

    If animal control is unresponsive, contact the media. Make the story about how AC isn’t responding appropriately to a public safety hazard. Not about the dogs or owners. That will get messy. No one can argue with a story about an agency failing to protect the public.

    You can also contact the States Attorney’s office if dangerous dogs are designated by the court.

    Contact a lawyer for advice.

  6. Dear Karen:
    Where is your Animal Control Service in your community ! ? I don’t see why you just have to live with it ,
    Make a fuss, file a complaint each and every time you see a loose dog. Put your neighborhood on the map as an area that needs service! It’s still not safe despite your whistle, pepper spray, and taper. It’s the owners who need consequences. Been there done that!
    A fur mom.

  7. We had a dog next door who would run through the invisible fence and attack dogs being walked on the road. The owners were very responsible and paid for all medical care, and luckily Bridgett never killed another dog. If she had, the owners would have put her down… At least they said they would.

    I live in a rural community where it is legal to shoot dogs if they chase wildlife and local owners know this is the case.

    I agree that it was not the Rottweilers fault that they haven’t been socialized, and also that they must not be allowed to murder anyone else’s dog.

    This is a scary and sad event that I hope won’t be repeated.

  8. My friend walks her small dogs in a neighborhood that unfortunately has more than it’s share of irresponsible dog owners. She carries a Taser and reports that just the sound of it scares away most dogs but if not, I’m sure she would use it on them.

  9. My dog survived a brutal attack by a neighborhood dog. This dog had attacked several other dogs, but no one filed a report with our local animal control. So, our attack was the first reported. Although the dog was deemed dangerous and is supposed to be kept locked in a cage at all times, I have seen it wondering the streets. If the other dogs who had been attacked had filed a report, and my report was not the first, this dog would no longer be a danger. Sad, but necessary for this very large aggressive dog. I have lived with a lot of stress since the attack. Please, if you see a loose dog or have an altercation with an aggressive dog, call the local authorities and insist on filing a report.

    • This is turning out to be important advice. Every report about the dogs, as long as it is tied to an address, will help build a file against them, which will help with the dangerous dog designation. Once so designated, if they attack again, the outcome is final, from what I’m hearing about this jurisdiction.

  10. I own Rottweilers and do Rottweiler rescue. I used to walk my dogs at 5am, both on leashes. One man on another street would wait for me to walk by then let his 3 medium/small sized dogs out, who would run across the street to attack my 2 dogs on leash. My screaming and yelling and kicking would deter them. Then I started walking one at a time and I carried my Dad’s whip antenna to protect my dog. The man was an asshole and knew what he was doing. His dogs roamed the neighborhood and pooped in everyone elses yard. He worked for the school district so figured he could do what he wanted. So it is NOT just large dogs, it is dogs that pack up.

  11. Yes, my husband and I (separately) while walking a dog -have been in this situation multiple times, in towns with leash laws. We used to run our Weims on a grassy college parking lot; beside their stadium (off season) but were run “up on” by packs of loose dogs inside the CITY LIMITS… 3 or more times. The first few times, we were lucky. But I noticed (when RC Steele catalog still existed) you could BUY a mace dog deterrent spray; so I got one. We went out (forever more) with it.

    Btw, I did periodically checked the spray to make sure it still worked. (Mine could shoot 10-12 ft out). We moved to a new smaller nearby town, and I as I walked down my street a Rottie mix BROKE its chain, came across the street growling & launched itself at my dog and I. The mace was on my belt loop. I caught him in MID-AIR (in the face) with the mace! Worked like a charm! (He “folded up” & slunk away.) I then called Animal Control fearful, if he was not caught he’d recover & go after somebody else.

    AC told me it was within my rights to defend myself – using mace, if I felt threatened. (The post office carriers & UPS use mace.) AC also said it would do NO long term damage. The owner was cited for allowing the dog to run loose & amazingly…put up a solid fence. Win-win!

    Since that time, my husband & one of our large (85 lb) leashed Weims have been run-up on, by 2 and 3 Rotties on a greenway. He tried his best to shout at the pair & throw sticks; to no avail. They would not leave him or our dog alone. As they “circled” he shot mace into the face of the more alpha or aggressive one & again – they immediately “stood down” and disappeared.

    Some months later, another group of 3 dogs (at least 2 Rotts & another Rottie or Rottie Mix) did something similar, again on the greenway (and would not be deterred by milder methods) so again, he had to use the mace with NO OWNERS in sight. We feel certain had we NOT had (and used the mace) we would be telling a different story;……. if we were still “able” to talk.

      • Don’t know what she uses but I purchased a pepper spray product named Halt, supposedly used by mail carriers. Haven’t had to use it yet. I rehearse my plan in case of attack:

        Scoop Lily (20lb cockapoo) up, transfer her to my left hand and hold her high against my body, grab spray on my belt and turn sideways and point spray at attacking dog. Twice on my walks, large dogs have skipped over to where we are and i performed this maneuver but held up my spray hand and yelled stop! at the top of my lungs three times. Both times the dogs stopped and the owners came and got them. After reading these comments, I’m also buying a taser, anyone know of a good one?

        • Tasers usually require contact with attacker, in this case dogs, making you susceptible to bites or broken bones, consider sticking to pepper spray. Sprays have down sides as well such as spraying your dog or yourself if spraying into the wind. Keeping your SA situational awareness by scanning the area (and staying off cell phones) can more quickly begin a deterrence of spray. Some states don’t allow citizens to carry tasers.

  12. Sadly, if a previous incident was not documented this will be considered a first offense. Please report at large dogs with aggressive tendencies. This behavior almost always escalates until there is a tragic outcome. Many people hate to report a neighbors dog but by not doing so you tie the Animal Control Officers hands.

  13. I was walking my 2 JRTs when a pit bull rushed us. I quickly picked up the girls and put them on my shoulders. The dog circled while I yelled at the top of my lungs. NOBODY CAME. I got home and called the police. The neighbors have since moved. Thank God. After that incident I bought a $50.00 can of bear spray. I now carry the bear spray.

  14. Those dogs killed Zazu. In many counties that means they can and will be confiscated and put down. had they only injured Zazu they might have only had to be relocated to another county that did not border the county in which the injury occurred.

    Zazu’s owners can sue for damages. They need to get a lawyer and find out the county regulations.

    Obtaining a dangerous dog designation is notoriously difficult and usually means nothing. If the owners didn’t care about restraining their dogs to begin with, they won’t care again. Once dogs have deliberately attacked and/or killed it is only a matter of time before it occurs again. Packs who attack/kill have to be broken up.

  15. I have been in a similar situation. Fortunately, my dog did not did not suffer serious injury. My German Shepherd puppy
    was attacked by a Great Pyrenees that would “get out” from time to time. I informed the owners that they needed to keep their dog confined. They acknowledged the need to do that. When it happened a second time, I told them there
    would not be a third time and that I would put their dog down without hesitation. From that point on, I carried a hickory axe handle on my daily walks. The owners eventually re-homed their dog and all turned out well. I understand that the Pyrenees is a breed that “protects” its home ground, but because of this bred in behavior, they must be kept in an appropriately confined area. It is the owners’ duty to make sure their dog does not roam free to cause mayhem in the neighborhood.

  16. I cannot even describe how I am feeling after reading this. I am crying for Zazu’s owners and I am so mad, my blood is boiling. Loose dogs are a pet peeve of mine. That description isn’t enough, but I can’t write the words I really want to. My own little Yorkie was attacked twice, once by a Husky who was loose in the FRONT yard of a house I walked by. My Beanie was only about 3 and she was tiny, and I am sure the Husky thought she was a rabbit. Before I knew it this dog was over her with its mouth on her back, and there was NOTHING I could do except scream, while my poor little dog was screaming. The owner’s came flying out and grabbed the Husky. I was sure Beanie was going to be punctured and full of blood, but all she was full of, was the Husky’s spit. It must have realized that Beanie wasn’t a rabbit and didn’t clamp down on her. My Guardian Angels were watching over her. The STUPID owners couldn’t even hang onto the dog and it almost got loose again. Needless to say, I never walked by that house again.

    The second time, I was walking her with my friend who has a very large Shepherd/Mastiff mix dog. Big, goofy dog who loves my little Beanie. We walked by a house and a hound from hell Pitbull burst out of the front door, attacked Chara first, who fought it off while my friend was punching and kicking it and then it saw me with my dog on my shoulder. The dog jumped on me to get at Beanie and managed to basically scrape her back leg with its teeth. The owner came out with her 2 daughters and they could NOT contain this THING. Everyone was screaming and finally the THING was grabbed and pulled back into the house. We went back to my friend’s house and I put Beanie down and she couldn’t walk and her leg was bleeding so I took her to the ER hospital. The doctor was amazed that my dog escaped more serious injury and that I wasn’t mauled.

    Against my boss’s (who was an attorney) advice I went back to the house and told the woman that I wanted her to pay the vet bill. She told me that had “found” her dog on the street and the dog had been mauled by another dog, so they just took it in. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I just looked at her and again said I want you to pay the vet bill. She started yelling at ME, saying your dog is fine. By that time, I was literally seeing “red” and I had to stop myself from punching her in the face because all I could think of and hear was my dog screaming as the THING was jumping on me. I just told her she would hear from my attorney and left.

    Again, my Guardian Angels were watching over us because I know that we all were lucky. I had nightmares for weeks after this incident. Beanie’s injuries healed and I was reimbursed for the vet bill, but she never recovered from this mentally. She is extremely frightened of dogs and manifests that by acting very aggressive whenever she sees a dog, barking and going crazy on the leash to the point where I end up apologizing to whomever goes by me with their dog. Beanie does have a couple of dogs she is o.k. with, but that is it.

    Why do people think it is o.k. to just let their dogs off leash or not contain them properly!!

    • Very sad. I feel badly for my small dogs. I’d love to walk them down trails like I used to with my big dogs, but rarely do, it’s not worth the risk. While a big dog may survive an attack, in most cases, a small one won’t. There are just too many irresponsible owners out there that think their dog should be able to go free … whether they have control over them or not.

  17. We have two minpins when I walk them I carry pepper spray. I will not hesitate to spray any animal that appears to be aggressive. If owner is around I ask them to get their dog and inform them if their dog comes at my dog I will spray them.

  18. So I have tubes of pepper spray as had to move to location where two dog owners let their dogs run loose to potty. I carry the pepper spray on me and use against stray dog a few feet before it gets to my dog and me.

  19. When humans don’t provide appropriate care and supervision for their dog(s) one way or another the dog (and offer others as well) pay the price. I live in a relatively safe urban neighborhood but still there is always the danger of a “close encounter” with aggressive dogs. I carry “Halt” (pepper spray) but I’m aware of the limitations in using it effectively. Fortunately it hasn’t been necessary to test it and I would only use it as a last resort.
    I think it’s unlikely the owner of the Rottweilers will claim them since they would be held liable for the damage they caused. If unclaimed these dogs will ultimately be put down (NOT “euthanized”) but could be kept confined in isolation for months or even years if there are legal proceedings. If the owners of these dogs can be located they are the ones who should be punished.

  20. Such a sad situation!!! Really brings it home to ban the deed and not the breed!!! I’ve been in their situation, I was returning to my car from an event downtown in my city. I was accompanied by my mobility Service dog. A young German Shepherd charged across the street and tried to attack my SD. I yelled, screamed, and kicked at, and pushed that dog away from my SD. The owners were outside, but it was a child that came to try to get the dog. We were lucky and my SD wasn’t injured. However, he was very wary for a while of any Shepherd looking dogs after that.

  21. As a Whole Dog Journal subscriber, I’m a little dismayed that so many people want the dogs in question put down without even mentioning the possibility that they could be re-homed with a responsible individual and be loving companions. I admit that in extreme cases it might not be possible, but I don’t think the article established that just because a loving pet was lost. I think about the pits that Michael Vic abused who are now loyal, loving family members. My last two dogs have been pit bulls, and I can’t imagine a better dog breed when well managed: loyal, affectionate, playful, and protective. I know someone will tell me it’s just a matter of time before I get a dose of reality and I have “an incident” because pits are unpredictable, but I’ll keep being cautious, like I would with any dog, responsible, engaged, and having a great relationship with a supposedly vicious dog breed.
    Cory

    • Hi Cory,

      Several of Michael Vic’s dogs were euthanized. But, the majority were placed in loving homes.
      Having said that, pit bulls are a wonderful breed (I had one) as are all other breeds! It is never the dogs fault it is the irresponsible dog owners!
      Sadly, I recently experienced my ‘super’ submissive black lab being attacked. We live in Colorado and hike all the time. This dogs owner was running on the trail and the dog was a mile ahead of her. My dog was nicely saying hello to another dog, when in a split second this other dog came out of nowhere! With a pack mentality, for no reason, grabbed my dog by the neck and would not let go! My dog screamed, so did my husband and I. The owner finally arrived and tried to stop her dog. My dog never growled or tried to retaliate at all. People on the trail ran over, screaming, throwing water on the dog, etc. My husband literally pried open the dogs mouth, getting bit himself. The woman’s response: “She has never done this before.” My reply: Well she has now! Put that dog on a leash!”
      Although our dog needed 2 layer of stitches, we are so lucky he is alive! The dog went in for the kill! I still cannot blame the dog. I blame the woman.
      Please, owners, take the time to get to know your dogs…

  22. I’m so sorry Zazu was so brutally attacked by these loose Rottweilers. I’ve been bitten by a Rottweiler who sent me to the ER with a broken hand and 30 stitches. It took me almost 4 years to settle a lawsuit against the horrible, irresponsible owner. Now when I walk my dogs I carry a taser, which is legal per my attorney, to safeguard me and my dogs. Be safe. ☮️💟

  23. I have seen multiple stories on facebook in the last few months of similar happenings. Some pulled the poor min schnauzer right out from his fenced in yard. We travel and I have to walk my min schnauzer in strange places all the time. I am getting myself a very strong pepper spray that is made to stop bears. The one I am getting is in the shape of a gun so you don’t get “blow back”. Do some research and get something to protect your pup and yourself!

  24. This is so sad. It happened to my mom years ago she was walking her very docile doberman and a pit bull got out of its yard and mauled my moms Dobie, it was Thanksgiving day and we took her to the emergency vet and they were able to sew her up but she went downhill and passed away about two weeks later. It was terribly sad.

  25. I live in a community with a bunch of chained loose, and otherwise not socialized dogs. I have been advised by other trainers to carry treats and spray shield. Throwing treats at the other dogs may be enough to distract them if you see them early enough. I have also heard of trainers carrying spray shield. My understanding is that spray shield is strong essential oils that you spray on the ground which interrupts the dog. I don’t think any of these things would work after a dog is starting to attack. Personally, I treat the dogs in the neighborhood that I don’t know as dogs who could potentially harm or disrupt my dog. I try to avoid them before they notice us.

    • Throwing treats and spray shield are pretty useless when an aroused dog is bent on attacking you or your pup. I carry pepper spray and a small taser.

  26. To the Rottweiler lovers these dogs need experienced owners and they rarely get them- they do not belong in cities or even suburbs where they cant be monitored the damage they can do is catastrophic.I acknowledge that a well disciplined dog with a strong owner might be OK in civilized society but it is not often the case that the owner is competen and strongt.I live in the city it is a jungle I just avoid all pit bulls , rottweilers shepherds etc.The owner will say ” oh he’s friendly ” and I always politely say well my dog isn’t friendly and walk away and inevitably as I do that the dog will growl and the owner says ” oh he never does that”. My experience with that rottweiler years ago in my building was jarring .My dog has been attacked 3 times in my present building once by a german short haired pointer ( luckily a doorman pulled him off)and by a neighbors terrier mix ( in that instance the terrier mix bit the owner in his rage to get at my dog)and by a small terrier in a store.I am hyper about other dogs and am very tuned in to any sign of aggression . The city is full of clueless young women with head phones on or on the cell phone and totally unaware of their surroundings- usually they are walking pitbulls and to me this spells disaster. I think rottweilers should do what they were meant to do pull carts and work on remote farms- sorry those two that attacked the dog need to be put to sleep – it will happen again if they aren’t.

    • As a young woman in a city who pays attention with her 2 well socialized dogs, who are submissive, I can say from experience that my submissive growled at another dog once, which surprised me too. After saying he never does that, I realized the other dog was VERY aggressive. He wasn’t growling so it seemed like my dog was the instigator, on the offense to attack, but the stance and body language of that dog was threatening and telling qother dogs that he wanted to attack them. I know this because this dogs made almost all the other dogs respond defensively, a warning reaction (growl, bark) from other well behaved dogs in the dog U Clearly, this dog was telling the other dogs that he was going to attack them and so my dog and the other non-aggressive dogs were responding with a defensive alert. When a person and their dog runs into so many situations of other dogs wanting to attack their dog, there is something wrong. And it’s usually their dog that is doing something to create these situations. Even if there isn’t a verbal clue (bark, lunging) your dog may be displaying aggressive Body language/ mannerisms causing so many dogs to react. My submissive dogs don’t have any instances of dogs trying to attack them, perhaps because of some luck, but also because they have non-threatening body language and can read when another dog is being aggressive and they sit still, or roll on their back to diffuse the situation.

      • Some truth to this, tho many very small dogs exhibit fear aggression in hopes of scaring off larger animals, especially when on leash.
        Also, as the owner of spitz-type dogs I have run into something sometimes known as Husky-syndrome. Many dogs misread this body type as body language signaling dominance. Its the high head, perked ears, arched back and tail held high up over the back. Its bred in.
        So back to the main point, training and owner control is paramount regardless of breed or size.
        Even the best trained and best behaved dog needs to be leashed in public. My pet peeve, is owners who adopt dogs they are not strong enough to hold back when pulling.
        Also, before judging, keep in mind that many of us adopt older, poorly socialized rescue dogs. We work hard at re-training, but it takes years and is not always fully successful. Mine is dog-reactive, on-leash and we avoid other dogs.

    • Tamara-I live in Chicago with my two Rottweilers. They are well well-trained, well-behaved, and always under control. You are WAY off base saying they do not belong in the city or suburbs. Dogs of all breeds should be trained and responsibly managed.

  27. My dog was attacked by another dog in the neighborhood, and has NEVER been the same. At the time, I would have gone for the aggressors eyes, but there was a little old lady who was screaming and trying to get the dog off. I now carry a product called Halt, which can be purchased online It claims to stop a dog attack in it’s tracks..

  28. Mhy two Shelties, both with assortede titles in obedience, herding, ability, Nose Work, and rally and I were walking along a well-used path at the beach with hordes of other people, dogs, bicyclists, skateboarders, and walkers/runners. I looked up and saw an unleashed Pitbull running towards us, head down, tail up, hackles raised, several hundred yards down the path. I yelled to the owner, “Call your dog!!” “Leash your dog!!!” “Get your dog!!!” “Get your F_____” dog” and about the time I got that out the Pitbull was on us, attacking my much smaller dogs. I started kicking him with everything I had in me when the owner sauntered up and said “Looks like you have a problem.” “YOU have the problem” I screamed. “You are breaking the law for starters. Get hold of him or I’m going to kill him right here and now!!” Thankfully the injuries to my Shelties were minor, but they have been left with a deep-seated fear of off-leash dogs and no amount of training or socialization has helped for the last half dozen years. They are fine in classes with all kinds of other dogs, but if a dog is running at them, they go berserk. “The best defense is a strong offense.” The pitbull owner left the scene unscathed and I was too concerned about my wounded furbabies to get information on who he was or where he hailed from. My heart is broken for Zazu’s family. Is there any useful defense (other than a taser or mace) recourse or legal way to reach these CPO’s (Clueless Pet Owners) right when these things happen?

    • This same thing has happened to me. It is horrifying, and makes my blood boil to this day to have been accused of being “the one with the problem,” when it was THE OTHER PERSON’S dog who was off-leash and charged my dog. I actually wound up needing a minor hand surgery from an injury I sustained during that incident. It is one of many incidents I’ve had over the years with unleashed dogs, or loose unattended dogs.

  29. Its not the breed usually. I have found some Rotties to be pussycats. However when you get two or more dogs you have a pack. I was walking one day pushing a stroller and had a dog on a leash. Suddenly a German shepherd ran out from behind a wall. He was charging at us and barking . What to do in a case like this. I just yelled at him in my loudest and sternest voice. NO! GO HOME
    He stopped and went back into his yard. There was not a soul on the street and no one came out.
    Dogs know NO. they hear it often I am sure. It has worked for me on more then this occasion.

  30. Years ago while on a neighborhood walk, my adolescent pup survived an attack by a rottie/pit mix that broke loose from whatever he was tethered to in order to get at my dog. Marley survived, though he needed surgery, and I got bit on the hand while trying to help my dog and lost a week of work. I always carry pepper spray since then, and I’ve discharged it on two occasions . I aim in front of the dogs, and this stopped 2 of the 3 dogs. The third dog paused and then kept charging, so he got a face full and finally ran back into his yard. I’m sorry to hear about poor Zazu. I hope the owners of the dogs are punished.

  31. I’ve worked with dogs professionally for over 50 years, and the number and content of each of these responses to the incident described is SO typical. We haven’t managed to progress much in all my years when it comes to this set of issues, although we are light years ahead in our knowledge and understanding of dog behavior, cognition and emotion (motivation.)
    Why on earth can we not get past our obsession with blame and punishment and implement laws and enforcement practices that would actually reduce the number of such attacks by unsupervised, inappropriately raised and irresponsibly owned dogs?
    On an individual level, there are more and less effective protective devices one can carry: small, fast trigger operated umbrellas, various sprays, deterrent shake cans, etc. All require a level of vigilance and some preparation to deploy them properly in an emergency.
    But public policy? Because we view dogs as property, we are hamstrung to do anything proactive because of how knee-jerk the resistance to interfering with someone’s sacred property rights is taken. Yet dogs are not human persons, and the issues that would arise if they were so regarded under the law are also mind-boggling with unintended consequences. We need a new legal category, between objects and persons, which would acknowledge the reality, the limited autonomous agency of dogs and other beings, and the accountability of those who keep them, similar to the way parents are accountable for both their proper care of children and the impacts of their behavior on others.
    What if we calculated the costs of dealing as we currently do with animal transgressions, so as to have an idea of how much public spending goes down this drain. Then what if we created a standard by which people could own, or become registered guardians of, dogs – a new sort of licensure – which in addition to the required rabies inoculation, a puppy would pay extra by way of deposit which would pay for his CGC (Canine Good Citizen) prep class, held often and publicly accessibly, and first test. After passing the test, the annual renewal would be free or minimal, with provision to increase upon any offense upon a person or animal – the amount collected and used to pay for a training class? The penalty for the responsible person not meeting these responsibilities would be an annual fee equal to the puppy fee, and it would be reduced or eliminated by taking the class and earning the certification. Why not motivate owners, financially and with social pressure, to do the right thing by their dogs? We do it with parents of children (and I maintain we would do it more effectively if we let go of some of the judgmental attitude and fixation on blame and punishment and focused more on support and positive reinforcement.)
    Would it solve everything? Of course not. But I think a generation-long experiment would show dramatic reductions in terrible things like this, a better use for public money (to support the expansion and deployment of competent dog trainers) — and probably some unintended consequences that, for a change, would be welcome surprises.

  32. I had a neighbor who’s son passed away. Her son had four cats and a Pit Bull.

    Pit Bulls are one of the gentlest breeds, unless made aggressive by the owner or tied to a stake outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week and neglected.

    My neighbor took all the animals that her son had, but never did anything with them except give them the cheapest food they could find.

    My neighbors dog was tied to a tree in their back yard 24 hours a day for several years. They would take it water and food a couple times a week, but that was all the attention their dog ever received.

    Their pets, just like their two children, never received any love and attention. They treated them more like a toaster that you bring out for a short time when you want to use it, and ignore it the rest of the time.

    One day I was walking my two Chihuahua’s.
    My neighbor had the Pit Bull on a leash heading for her house. Her dog jerked loose and attacked my two dogs, almost killing the one dog.

    My neighbor blamed me for the attack because I did not turn around and Immediately run home when she was walking her dog!!
    Some people just should not own pets (and some people should not have children either)!

    • “Pit Bulls are one of the gentlest breeds” — no they’re not. Sorry, but that is simply not true; they are bred to be fighting dogs. Just read the comments here. How many of the attacks were from pit bulls? A high percentage. That doesn’t mean that pit bulls can’t be wonderful dogs, but high powered dogs that are capable of inflicting great damage need to be carefully managed. Disseminating a view that pit bulls are by nature gentle flowers is not helpful. Back when I was still going to dog parks, the worst attacks I saw were from pit bulls whose naive owners did not recognize their capacity for doing harm. In my own neighborhood, a pittie recently climbed a 6′ fence to attack a small dog that was walking by on leash. Pit bulls can be wonderful dogs, one of my favorite breeds actually, but they are a lot of dog.

      Several years ago my ex and I got a Rottie puppy that turned out to be an unstable dog. Sometimes nurture can’t overcome nature, no matter how hard the owners try. After my ex and I split up, the Rottie continued to deteriorate. He fought with the other household dog, bit the human housemate badly enough to send her to the hospital, and started trying to pick off the resident cats. He ultimately had to be put down. Getting a power breed is a big responsibility.

      • “Pit bulls are bred to be fighting dogs.” Yes, I’ll give you that…people do breed them AND THEN TRAIN THEM to fight. The dogs that won’t fight for these breeders are used for bait. But I digress. Dogs with strong bites cause more damage and their attacks are more likely to be fatal. That is why we hear about them. What happened to Zazu would not have happened with responsible owners. I am so saddened by these events and angry with the owners of the Rottweilers. The dogs were obviously aggressive and likely not trained at all.The pack mentality didn’t help either. I’m not saying specific pit bulls, or rotties, shepherds, dobermans, etc., aren’t aggressive, just that no breed is inherently dangerous across the board.
        There are so many small dogs that are serial biters and are not reported. Damage may be minimal, those bitten may feel reporting is an overreaction, owners brush it off, any number of reasons. There is No Excuse for a dog that attacks or bites without provocation. I have been bitten more than once to keep a smaller dog away from my animals. Most of these dogs are leashed but their owners are oblivious or too far away (retractable leads). The owner says their pet just wants to say hello. While they may believe that, it’s unlikely given the dog’s body language and the owner doesn’t have a clue. It’s not that I fear my pet will be killed, I am afraid my dog will defend himself, or me, and be taken away or labeled as dangerous for reacting to a possible threat.
        I like big dogs and I work hard to socialize and train them. I had a Doberman I raised from a pup and we did go to the dog park occasionally. Off hours, when it was less crowded and I always checked out who was there, never taking my eyes off him or his playmates. He did very well with dogs of all sizes but we would leave if owners weren’t paying attention or if any of the dogs got rowdy. One day, a man brought an intact mixed breed and the dog was staring at my Dobie and growling before he even reached the gate. I called my dog over and asked the man to please wait so we could leave. He replied that his dog was friendly and came here all the time (the idiot), and let his dog free. As you might guess, the dog immediately went after Griffin and bit him. I sprayed both in the face with water and commanded, “no, stop!” Luckily, other people at the park helped form a barrier and I was able to leave with Griff. That man had the audacity to tell me Doberman’s should not be allowed at dog parks. Happy to say that several others left with me and said they were happy to have their pups run with mine at any time.
        Knowing that some of the dogs I love can scare people, I am always careful. I have to protect my pet from the inappropriate actions of others because it’s too easy to blame the scary dog… I currently have a rescue Doberman/Great Dane mix. He was left tied out in his previous life and attacked by loose dogs, unable to get away. As a result he was very dog reactive when I adopted him. He’s much better now but I try not to put him in a position where he might be scared or have to defend himself. Why? Because the big, black dog would be blamed, even if he was just fighting for his life. Protect your pet and protect yourself. Say something if you observe loose dogs or aggressive behavior.
        And people with small dogs? They still need training and socialization. If your dog bites, I’m reporting it.
        Just call me “sick and tired of stupid pet owners.”

  33. For 20+ years in my life I did golden retriever rescue. Goldens are known for their happiness, loving nature, and gentleness. During my years I had 5 goldens at different times who demonstrated aggression toward people or other dogs and, in one case, children only. I had possession of the dogs and completed very intense evaluations of each dog. My job was to find the great home for each and every dog I took in. For one young female who gave me 17 puppies, she was extremely dog aggressive. I was able to locate a young woman who understood the gravity of keeping her confined in the presence of other dogs. She had the physical stature to control the dog on a leash, and this dog lived a very long life with her. The other 4 dogs were people aggressive and by my evaluaton and a behaviorist’s assessment could not be rehabilitated to become safe around people. One particular young male was highly aggitated and crazy when he spied a child. I made the decision to put them down humanely. You can’t place an aggressive dog in the hands of new owners and expect them to keep others safe. This is expecially true of aggressive goldens. The population views them with such love and confidence.

    There are so many, many wonderful and safe dogs needing homes that there is no room for aggressive dogs in our society. To know that the rottie owners created these monsters and were breeding possibly genetic carriers of aggressive genes is heartbreaking. But, this type of thing happens so much by ignorant and greedy owners.

    I advise Zazu’s parents to sue for anything they can get. And, pursue the dangerous dog status on these dogs. It might take some sleuthing, but this wasn’t their first time being aggressive. But, also take my cyber hugs on this horrific tragedy. I’m so sorry.

  34. I agree with you Nancy, dangerous dogs, just like dangerous people should not be given a free pass. If a person kills someone they go to prison or get the death penalty, what makes it ok for a dog to do it? This problem is getting worse, read the news articles and you see it happens often. It’s not fair to the majority of good people and good dogs that they can’t go for walks anymore for fear of losing their lives. See the story of the little 7 year old girl in Detroit last month that was mauled to death behind her house by vicious dogs. Anyone that thinks those dogs should live to possibly do it again should take a good look at themselves. I’m not talking about a dog biting someone, I am talking about unprovoked attacks on people or dogs with the intent to kill! This is not normal dog behavior!

    • Please give some thought to your argument. Dogs and people are not the same. Dogs, even when aggressive, are not moral or amoral, deserving of punishment. There may be the necessity to put a dog down because of aggressive behavior, but they will never be deserving of it. If all dog owners start to understand dogs as dogs instead of fury four legged people we would all be better off for it. (you can still adore and pamper them).

  35. I have had two of my dogs attacked by the same dog over the years. The owner never walks the dog, they would let her out of her yard in the evening to run loose. I walk my dogs daily, on leash. The first time, she came running up to my shepherd cross from the other end of the block and put 5 holes in my dog. The second time, she ran up to my male Great Dane and did the same thing to him. He just sat on the ground and allowed her to bite him. One of the wounds became infected and after paying the vet bill, I delivered the bill to the owner and made him pay me back. I reported this dog to the authorities and absolutely nothing was done. That dog has since passed away but the woman has got another one who is exactly the same, never walked and always ready to attack when people walk by.

  36. My dog was attacked by a dog in the vet’s office, held on lead by a 4 year old!!! No vet rep present, mother stood watching!! Fortunately my dog’s injury is not physical, but the trauma remains. Another time as we walked along sidewalk, on lead, me with my walker, a loose dog ran from porch where owner sat , saying, ‘I didn’t see you coming’.
    My heart goes out to Zazu’s family. I just do not know what the solution is . Stupid, irresponsible people are everywhere. The dogs are not the problem, the people are. I sound like a gun control opponent. But it is true: PEOPLE must be educated, punished, restricted SOMEHOW.
    I do not know how.

  37. We walk our dogs the same routes every day. They are Maltese’s – under 10 lbs. Last year a neighbor’s dog was off leash and attacked one of my dogs – almost biting him in half. The neighbor’s response was – oh he just doesn’t like your dog. No apology. Our dog had extensive injuries, even having to have a drain surgically inserted -obviously at great expense. We reported the incident and the owner was ordered to have the dog muzzled and on leash at all times. We wrote them a note detailing the expense,. They came over to talk about how traumatic it was FOR THEM to have to muzzle their dog. I can’t even look at them. Recently, a year later, the dog was again off leash and again came after my dog. My husband was able to jerk him off the ground by the leash and out of harm’s way but that action could have hurt my dog severely as well. We decided not to report it as it would probably result in the dog being euthanized and we don’t want that on our conscience. I’m just very angry at the refusal to acknowledge fault, show remorse or to comply with mandated actions but instead somehow making it our fault. From reading other comments, it looks like that’s the way it often goes.

    • Sorry, but you should have reported that second incident no matter the result. It is not your responsibility for their dog. If the dog was eventually euthanized, that would be the fault of the neighbor, not you for reporting it. By not reporting it, you allow that dog to do it again to someone else. Then when they report it, that dog only has two strikes against it instead of three. That is why I reported the German Shepherd that attacked my dog. I may have been the first but I wasn’t the last. He attacked two other dogs.

    • I understand your not wanting to possibly be the cause of the dog being put down, but you would NOT – the owner would be responsible for that. How would you feel hearing another dog, person, CHILD? was injured?

  38. Forewarned is forearmed … any one as in ANY ONE running, walking, strolling with dogs (or alone for that matter) must carry a protective “weapon” – – – pepper spray, mace, or Wasp Spray are excellent repellents when any predator approaches … it won’t help in this case, but it might have warded off the big dogs enough to escape their jaws of death.

  39. I live in Florida part of the year where there are a lot of dangerous dogs! I carry pepper spray and (with a permit) a 38 revolver. If I ever need to use one or the other, I most certainly will!

  40. I think people who think aggression in the dog world isn’t normal should take a good look at themselves, because they begin with a premise that all dogs are born to be friendly to people and other dogs which is complete at odds with reality. As one person eloquently pointed out, any dog, even the venerable lab, can have biological issues that require the difficult decision to cull them from
    our ranks. I’m going to continue to believe the research that tells me that all dog breeds have the ability to be social and safe, and that the individual dogs of any breed that show tendencies to resist either should only be managed by people who have the energy, patience, and consideration to do so. Hopefully that’s a good enough look at myself for those skeptical of my compassion for both the aggressors in the story and the unfortunate victim. I place no blame on Zazu, obviously, and am sorry for his loss, but I don’t believe there’s enough information about the Rottweilers to say, “They’re killers“…”They’ll always find a way to kill again”…”They’re slaves to 100’s of years of breeding”…etc. If they are found to be uncontrollable I, too, would consider their euthanasia necessary. Knee jerk reactions are understandable in the face of tragedy, but still are unhelpful in educating people about how best to deal with dog behavior.
    Cory

  41. I always carry Mace and have found that Halt doesn’t do much good. Had a vicious dog go after one of my Smooth Fox Terriers and it was like the dog had a laser attached to my little one. It took an entire can of Mace to slow the dog down so the owner could get to it, and she yelled at me because I “hurt” her dog with the Mace. I told her that if I EVER saw that dog loose again, I would call the police immediately. After that her husband walked the dog, always on leash. My heartfelt sympathy to Zazu’s owners. That but for the grace of Mace, would have been me.

  42. My heart breaks for Zazu’s owners. The dogs that killed Zazu are more than dangerous, they are vicious and should be euthanized. The owners should be fined and maybe never allowed to own a dog again. My 9 month old Standard Poodle has been attacked twice in the past 3 weeks. First by two very large (one looked like a shepherd/malamute mix) off leash dogs that charged him growling, hackles up, teeth bared. They jumped on him and he started screaming. I had to let go of the leash and he ran (fortunately, he was near a church and a woman heard the noise, came out and clapped her hands which startled the dogs — my pup got ahead and the owner was able to catch his dogs). He only had minor physical damage but, not sure what the long term emotional damage will be since he is already a fearful/anxious pup. Due to his nature I have been working for several months with positive trainers to help him. Just when he was making some progress our neighbor’s off leash small, aggressive dog went after him last night. My poor pup is not a fighter (lucky for the smaller dog). Fortunately, the owner got his dog immediately and said he would never let the dog off leash again (we will see).
    We live in a very congested area and there are too many dogs with irresponsible owners. Animal Control does not enforce any leash laws — their attitude seems to be, “let owners work it out”. I just purchased pepper spray, a loud horn, whistle and have a walking stick. Next a taser or cattle prod (long handle). Anyone else feel like they have PTSD?

  43. I have been in a couple of situations like this. Fortunately not with dogs as big as rotties. I had to stop walking with my border collie here in the country since most country dogs are loose & can be, (not always) aggressive. I usually carry a big stick when I walk & have had to use it occasionally sadly. I have had pit bulls set on me & my dog even tho I was on the sidewalk across the street when I lived in FL. I now take a gun with me if I walk with my dog.

  44. I am proud to live with a Golden, a Chocolate Lab (my retired SD) a young Black Lab. The Black Lab was supposed to be a replacement SD. It didn’t happen due to some form of trauma he suffered in the 10 months before I got him. What I know is his mom bit his right ear off. Those three would. Ever think of attacking anyone, animal or human, they just want love. My son and his Rottweiler lived with us at the time. We would take the Rottie to a field across the road from my house. The owner gave us permission to run our dogs on his 10ac field. Even when he would let his Dobie out Our Rottie would just come close to us and stand both dogs would bark and then begin playing with each other. Neither dog attacked the other. What was different our Rottweiler, he was a big boy, had attended training and passed his good citizen training. If he had been an untrained savage I have no doubt he could have murdered any dog he saw. But he was socialized and trained. He would go to work with me on some days. My coworkers didn’t mind. They all said they were amazed how gentle he was. I just replied this is what happens when you make sure they are trained. He, I’m sure could and would be protective if he need be. But he never had to be aggressive. I’m sure he scared an intimidated people who just saw him as a BIG Rottweiler. He weighed 110 pounds. My point is even a big headed Rottie can live a life of not being aggressive if he has been trained and socialized. When I see a Rottweiler being accused of being a savage I see a poor dog who has not been trained or socialized. They will suffer because of ignorant owners. The owners should held accountable and made to pay damages and have their dogs removed from their care, custody and control. Shout they be put down? It if evaluation shows they can be trained THEN they should be adopted by someone who only knows the breed.

  45. I know several people who’s dogs have been killed by other dogs. These are not free roaming dogs. They are pitbulls who have pulled leashes out of the hands of their owners. We currently have one who lives three doors down from us. He attacked another dog injuring it severely. I offered to take the dog and sit with him while he gets euthanized but his owner just can’t do it. I understand she loves him. I just pray when that dog gets loose again he kills someone or something it’s not a kid or other human being. It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time.

    • Dog to dog aggression is NOT the same thing as dog to human aggression. Read: just because this dog is aggressive to other dogs does not mean it will automatically start attacking children next. Perhaps a more thoughtful offer to your neighbor might be to help them find a behaviorist to work with her and her dog to find a way to humanely control the dog around other dogs.

      • I didn’t say it was the same. But there are dogs who will go after small children. She brought up euthanasia, I simply offered to take him in for her.
        I’ll let you know when he kills a dog. It’s only a matter of time. I’ve been working with dogs most of my life. I know what I’m seeing. Saving these killer dogs is not what I’m about.

  46. Two and a half years ago, my husband was walking our two terrier mutts about 5:30 in the morning, as usual. Suddenly two mastiffs attacked our dogs. My husband was able to grab our smaller one, Henry, (who had just had surgery the day before for cancer in his head) but he was unable to also pick up our Molly. My husband was finally able to save her by kicking one of the dogs in the ribs and throwing a large rock at the other one. Molly’s neck was split from one side to the other where her leash lays and her whole rear hip area was torn up like hamburger. We got her into our vet as soon as he opened and he couldn’t believe the damage. Her whole back was shaved, her neck shaved, stitches and tubes for drainage put in. In spite of all this and medications, infection set in. Poor thing smelled so bad I had to keep candles burning in the house. We took her to the vet every other day for about four months. Her neck healed fine but her hips still bear the huge scars where the skin died and no hair now grows. Animal control gave them a warning and the irresponsible owners finally paid all the vet bills. We understand they finally got rid of one of the dogs because they couldn’t keep it in. The trauma of this whole thing has stopped us from walking our dogs in the neighborhood. Every morning we get in the car and drive to the shopping mall to walk them (we actually have four dogs.)

  47. First, I want to say I am so sorry for Zazu. To have to watch your dog being mauled to death is beyond awful.
    I would pursue any avenue possible to get these owners held responsible and to not allow them to have dogs, ever.
    Secondly, rottweilers are not innately aggressive, no dog is. In Germany rottweilers, GSDs etc are all living peacefully in cities, intact. They are trained and well-socialized.
    It seems to me that too many people here think that all a dog needs is food, water and a chain…and often not even that.
    Thirdly, I agree that these dogs should be euthanized. We had found a pitbull running the street. He was very sweet with people, but took a dislike to our female husky. He started going after her and became increasingly more aggressive until he mauled her. Thankfully, he did not do major damage but we knew where it would end, so had him euthanized. It was heart breaking but the best thing to do since we had no idea about his past life.
    Lastly, we live in the country, in Texas, and loose dogs are always a danger. Thankfully, neither myself nor my dogs have ever been attacked, although it came close multiple times. I usually just yell at them to GO HOME and NO, so far it has worked. But based on so e of the comments, i might get maze or pepper spray.
    Where i live it is legal to shoot dogs who attack, although i don’t have a gun…lol

  48. Pepper spray! I keep it on (not in) my fanny pack and ready to use in a nanosecond. Sadly, I have used it, aiming for the attack dog’s nose. I pity any dog I must spray (pepper spray is so caustic!), but my dog is overly friendly and submissive. She has scars to show that even “friendly” dogs who have “never attacked another dog” do, indeed, attack. I take no chances. It’s my duty to protect my dog from danger at all times.

  49. I would also get a coyote collar, you can buy them online. They have needle like extensions on them. . They also sell jackets of the same nature. If you live in coyote country and your dog runs loose.

  50. Yes. Having been in a similar but not as tragic situation.

    Follow the advice of animal control. Report the dogs. Canvas the neighborhood and see if anyone else has reported the dogs before or is willing to report them for another instance. Sue the owners in small claims court for the final vet bill and cremation and anything else you can. If the dogs are still released and you are concerned then be a stalker. Monitor those dogs with a contact in the neighborhood to make sure they are reported in the future every time they get out and every time they attack. It’s not being vindictive. As you say in your article. The next time it could be a child or older adult that is mauled or even killed.

    I had a similar problem with a dog in my parents’ neighborhood and the neighbors at the corner. They adopted a rescued German Shepherd. They were having him trained and we met on a walk and I slowly introduced the two. When my dog looked a bit skittish and the shepherd looked like he might lunge I stepped between them facing *my* dog. Instead the German shepherd turned and bit me on the thigh. I didn’t report it then as everyone was so remorseful, my parents were adamant I not report their neighbors and I felt it was partly my fault for stepping between.

    But it happened again without any provocation. We were walking the dogs and I had my dog sit at the corner waiting to cross. Their son opened their gate and the German Shepherd came running out over to my dog and started attacking him. The son ran after and the Dad soon followed and they got him off and my dog was not hurt. But I had warned them after I was bitten that if it happened again I would report their dog for all of the reasons you state. And I did. My parents were angry with me but I said what if it was a small dog and it was killed? What if he attacked a child? What if someone else was bitten?

    These people were very careful with their dog but I learned a few years later from my Mom that he’d done it again and more than once. No dogs were killed or people harmed but he had attacked at least two other dogs in the neighborhood. I’m not sure if he was reported or not. He still lives with them but is very old and now has Degenerative Myelopathy and is no danger to anyone.

    But it is important that ANY dog that attacks anyone or anything be reported for any attack. If they do it once they’ll do it again. If they keep doing it, the next time an animal could be killed or a human injured or even killed. We’ve all read stories of packs of dogs running loose and killing a human.

    So my advice is follow the law to the full extent you legally can. Sue them for all damages. Monitor those dogs and encourage anyone that has had encounters to report them. It is tragic that the dogs will have to suffer for the sins of the owners. Some people shouldn’t own dogs but unfortunately you can only address it after the fact when there has been a tragedy.

  51. My husband and I both have a CCW license. I would not hesitate to shoot a dog or dogs attacking my beloved English Lab. If you don’t have a CCW think about a pellet gun, anything that will deter you or your beloved dog from being attacked. Now days you must be responsible for your own safety!!

    • An electric bug zapper may also help. It will alter the attacking dog’s mind in an instant since the wet mouth and nose of a dog are extremely sensitive.

  52. Laws of self defense in many states allow you to use proportional defensive force, up to deadly defensive force, to protect yourself, others and even your pets. Have read many reports of joggers, hikers etc. out on a neighborhood dog walk/run or out in the country being attacked by domestic and wild animals all across the country. One has to be prepared to consider how one will react in such encounters and think these situations through. Pepper sprays, up to and including bear sprays for those living in bear country, pocket knives and firearms are escalating defensive weapons. Learn the laws of defensive force in your state and be prepared. If an encounter occurs, defend yourself and others including pets, administer first aid if necessary, then call 911. Tell them where you are, what you need-police/ambulance, your name and what you’re wearing if you are carrying a firearm and holster it once the threat is neutralized then hang up. Seek legal advice if necessary and read your state’s statutes. Know the laws so you don’t become the one who lands in jail.

  53. I don’t fully understand dog behavior. I obedience-trained my Sheltie (oversized), and was interested in herding training but didn’t know how. Took him to a trainer who seemed to think he had some ability–was able to get sheep out of a corner, and seemingly used “eye”. Went to a group herding class run by a club where I knew no one. Was on one side of the ring with my dog when another dog ran around and started a fight with my dog, followed by its owner who yelled at ME that MY dog was aggressive…though he had been beside me and had not gone anywhere off lead or, as far as I could tell, provoked the attack. Did he? Did he challenge the other dog with his eyes and draw it, with a silent power, around the ring to attack? I didn’t go back to the group. I did become concerned about being with my dog on lead in groups lest he perhaps had such a powerful eye that he would draw attacks. No others happened but I did make a point to “keep walking” at times. My Sheltie and I lived contentedly on my farm (I fenced yard so that car chasing never got started) for his 12 years of life. But I’ve always wondered just WHAT I didn’t see and understand about non-verbal dog communication. Could a trainer comment here?

    • I think you blamed yourself and your dog for nothing. I think the other owne’rs dog was the instigator and they blamed you and you believed it. Some people are incapable of accepting blame and instead project their own shortcomings on others.

    • If interested in dog body language, there is a FANTASTIC book by Turid Rugaas titled “Calming Signals” which I highly recommend. It’s only 70-some pages, has tons of very clear pictures, and I will say after having owned and trained my own dogs – always 2 or more at a time – and being well educated myself I learned from this book.

  54. The reason I would use the word killing machine is that once in fighting mode rottweilers and pit bulls fight to the death – their jaw strength, the fact that they clamp on and dont let go the fact that they are used for fight and protection g all this contributes.These dogs should not be allowed in cities.I would rather my dog got into a fight with an equal sized dog with a normal jaw who does not clamp down like the bully breeds do.I have seen and heard too many horror stories and I know how aggressive the rottweilers I have known have been.The problem is the owners but who is monitoring them and dogs that were bred for protection will be aggressive in a crowded environment like a city.All breeds can attack and bite but they dont all kill the way rottweilers and pitbulls do once they get started they dont stop and it is hard to stop them unless the owner has control and certainly not if they are loose.This is just common sense.I have heard endless stories of people banging on the head of a pitbull in vain to let go and I have seen it too.There are exceptions I am sure but unfortunately they are few and far between.

    • Tenacity in bully breeds is a true trait. The rest is verifiable hogwash. Bite strength is equitable by size in the dog world. Pitbulls don’t have a stronger bite, (or a locking jaw) than a lab or Shepard of equal size. They are just more committed than most other breeds. If you need a boogie man to banish from your community so you can feel safe at least name the fiend correctly: “tenacity”.

  55. I carry a canister of a combo of mace, pepper spray and tear gas that has a dye marker that sprays up to 30 feet. I first checked with our police department to see if it was legal if only used on dangerous animals. I also carry yummy foods to throw to distract. In addition to aggressive off leash dogs, we have a pack of coyotes living in a park near us who are always off leash and very territorial and aggressive during breeding season and with active dens. If getting big and hazing the coyotes doesn’t get them to back off, I use the spray. Between dogs and coyotes I have had several occasions in which it has prevented injuries for my dog and myself. It’s tricky when the wind is blowing but better to have a light exposure to it than be attacked.

  56. I live in an area that has very high wind from time to time. After high wind fences are down and dogs are loose on the streets. When I walk my dogs I carry an umbrella, treats and pepper spray. If yelling “No, go home” doesn’t work, so far a treat does. They usually take the treat and go somewhere else to eat it. Only one dog kept following us to get more treats. I have a goofball senior male GSD and a senior female black Lab that would not hurt anything, even if it was hurting her. What happened to Zazu is my worst nightmare. Reading these posts make me want to keep my dogs at home where they are safe, but that wouldn’t be fair to them or to me. I’ll add a taser, and possibly a gun to my arsenal. Thank you all for sharing your experiences.

  57. I have the largest and most loving Rottweiler in town. He loves everyone and every dog. I know that some people have fear of him because of his breed and size and I protect him by having a very large six-foot chain link pen that he can come and go through the kitchen door any time he wants to go out. He has a Great Dane which comes to play about every day. I don’t walk him often even though I live in the country but if the day comes that I am physically unable to manage him (he does chase birds and chipmunks in his pen) I will stop walking him. I AM RESPONSIBLE for protecting him and making sure he does not cause a problem for anyone or anything else. I have always had Rottweilers and never had a vicious one but I have had a couple that I would not have loose in the house when a stranger was present. No matter what one says, some breeds are just not the cuddling type and owners who choose to have them should take extra precautions. In my opinion the easiest way to reduce the number of dangerous dogs is to make it expensive to own one. I like my Rotties because they have independent personalities and are not particularly needy or neurotic; however some personalities are attracted to the dangerous dogs because of their own personalities. Those folks are difficult to change.

  58. If something like this happened to one of my dogs it would break me. I really need to make a point of carrying pepper spray with me on a regular basis.

    • Or keep an electric bug zapper at hand. It will alter the attacking dog’s mind in an instant since the wet mouth and nose of a dog are extremely sensitive.

  59. Maybe 19 years ago, we had the summer from hell. We had e dogs at the time, a golden, an ACD, and a Mini Schnauzer. I walked the two smaller ones and my husband walked the Golden. All three were attacked at various times. The ACD was the worst, she was in hospital for 4 days and Rik some time to recuperate. That owner had allowed a neighborhood teen to walk the dog who looked like a lot mix. The kid had let the leash drop and had one foot in the door that passed for a leash. We were still in front of our house when out of the corner of my eye, I saw this dog running across the street and not even pausing, attacked my ACD. Both my ACD and my mini Schnauzer were leashed. One neighbor helped me, I called my bet and begged her to stay open so I could bring my Gracie Anne in.
    I did Sue, but New York state considers dogs property so only the vet bills were paid. I still have flash-backs. The other two dogs were not hurt when they were attacked.
    I agree with the person who said there should be a dangerous owner category, it most often is the fault of the owner who doesn’t train properly, doesn’t socialize, and who spends little or no time with the animal they so thoughtlesly bought.

  60. Not every dog has to be vicious to be a problem and a stress. My boxer and I were constantly harassed by a un-neutered Shepard cross that a lady had brought with her from France. We had met in the dog park initially where I observed her dog trying to dominate and mount everything in sight. Unfortunately it fixated on my male boxer (who was strongly alpha) and so I started avoiding them at the park so that a fight would not occur. Although our dog park is fenced, the fence was low and quite jump-able. The woman did not believe in leashing her dog and so while my dog and I were lawfully off leash in the dog park he would jump into it FROM OUTSIDE to harass my dog. If he saw us on leash outside the park he would charge over to again attempt to mount my dog. I complained numerous times to the city and at one point followed her to her apt to know her address so that the pound could talk to her. Nothing helped and nothing was done. This went on for over a year until I think she eventually moved.

    • I had this same problem many years ago with a very sweet Kerry Blue terrier I had called Parker. We had an intact male Boxer mount him and the owner just said it was what dogs did when I remonstrated with her! It was a very big, heavy Boxer and I was concerned that Parker may get hurt physically apart from him receiving this dog’s unwanted attentions! I bought a super-soaker water pistol and next time I saw the dog it came up to mount Parker I said a loud “NO” and it ignored this so I got it between the yes with a massive squirt! The look on its face was priceless but it still came back again for another attempt only to get another soaking. The owner meanwhile was completely oblivious to what her dog was doing as she was in the next field. My Kerry, although not liking what this dog was doing, was a very mellow submissive dog but this dog could have provoked other male dogs to fight and the owner was irresponsible and clueless.

  61. I can’t finish reading this comments. It is very triggering. I lived with a dangerous dog. Only given the designation bc he bit the vet after she thought he was sedated and she took off his muzzle. He was aggressive however, never trusting anyone after living with assholes, our neighbors, perpetually penned… and so when it came to living with us he lived like the boy in the plastic bubble, our job to protect from people who insist, “if he just smells my hand…” We chose to live this way. We loved him too much to employ “behavioral euthanasia.”
    I now have a dog who is fearful but that almost every dog seems to want to go after. Throwing food didn’t help the one time I managed to do it. Things happen so fast so I think rehearsing in my mind is something I really need to work on. I carry a citronella spray and a whistle. Someone else suggested compressed air.
    @WDJ @Nancy Kerns, I’d love to see a follow up on other suggestions for what to do. I heard there was a good NPR piece on this subject too.

    • Always keep an electric bug zapper at hand. It will change the dog’s mind in a second since the wet mouth and nose of a dog are extremely sensitive.

  62. So sad! I am very nervous about this happening to my dogs while out walking to this day as it has happened to me before. I was walking my peekapoo and a guy walking 4 big dogs approached from the other side of the road. Correction *they were walking him*. Two of his dogs slipped their collars and attacked my dog. After what seemed like hours of several attempts to get the 2 dogs off of my dog (doing everything you’re not supposed to do… kicking, yelling, etc.) I was, by some miracle, able to get my dog away from them during the one second they were readjusting their grip. We rushed my dog to the emergency vet and after hours of surgery and tubes and multiple vet visits, he was ok. It’s a horrific experience and one you’d not wish on anyone. Doing some research as to how to handle the situation, you’re supposed to basically choke the attacking dog by twisting their collar. They have to choose air or continuing to fight. I’ve also heard of covering their eyes with a shirt or blanket to remove their visual stimulation and hopefully get them to release. Such a horrible situation. We reported the dogs and the owners only got a citation. Not 2 weeks later, the same dogs attacked another dog. Though the attack wasn’t fatal, the dog has lasting damage and will never be the same. After this incident, one of the attacking dogs was put down. It makes me sick to think after the degree of attack on my dog that there wouldn’t have be an assessment to determine the consequences vs. waiting for a second incident before taking action.

  63. These are heartbreaking stories and I am so sorry. In my case, I have a German Shepherd and my anxiety is on the other foot, so to speak. Gracie is very reactive to other dogs and while she has never demonstrated aggressive tendencies, I wouldn’t take the chance. We walk very early in the morning and always on leash. My problem is the number of people who also decide to walk early and don’t have their dogs leashed. The dogs will come running, while the owner is strolling along and I’m yelling, “Call your dog!” Most of the time, the other dog doesn’t obey the recall and sometimes charge, barking, baring fangs, the whole deal. I end up hauling Gracie away, sometimes running away, to avoid any problems. Careless owners really need to get a grip. Stop being in denial about your dog. I’m tired of hearing, “Oh, he just wants to play,” or “Lady, don’t worry, he won’t hurt anybody.”
    But since I’m the one with the “big, bad German Shepherd,” I must understand my responsibility for keeping Gracie out of trouble, even if I didn’t start it. Every owner must be responsible for their dogs with continual training, and obey the laws, for everyone’s sake. Try to raise good canine citizens. Let’s put a dent in the number of these awful, senseless, needless injuries and deaths of our beloved dogs.

    • I’m responding because I’m also on the ‘other side’. I have a dog who’s also reactive. I also keep him properly leashed and under control. But many times I’ve come across the small ‘safe’ breeds who are either off leash or on but not being controlled. I’m left yelling out that the owner needs to get their ‘safe’ little dog away or risk it getting hurt. All the while I’ve had to hear owners telling me how friendly their dog is and how it only wants to play. Never understanding that it’s not polite for one dog to run up to an unknown dog that’s leashed. Will my dog hurt the other dog? I don’t know and hope not. Unfortunately, if he does, that other owner will most likely blame him and want him labeled dangerous. Will he be at fault? Definitely not!

      • Yep the number of times I have dogs running up to my leashed dog. My dog is fine if dogs approach slowly and respectfully but not so much if they run at him which I do not blame him for. We have even had problems with people who have leashed dogs wanting to force a meeting. My dog is small and he had a Great Dane pulling it’s owner towards us. My dog ran under a car to get away. The owner of the Great Dane kept coming saying “Oh he’s friendly” I had to explain that my dog being under the car meant he was sacred and wanted nothing to do with her dog. You think she would have gotten the signal when my dog bolted under a car.

  64. My heart goes out to ZAZU’s parents.
    I live in Central Florida for the past 15 years. Had my house built on a street that only had 3 other houses. I was able to walk my 2 dogs [a shepherd mix and newfie mix] around the block [on a leash] w/o a problem. Over the past several years more and more people are building in the neighborhood. They have dogs that are not on a leash. My two dogs have since passed just in the last 13 months. Now I have a 4 month old Labradoodle named Kody. I take him out for a walk after I get home from work. I always carry a heavy cane and my mace. If I see the dogs lose I will not venture in their direction even thought I have just a much of a right to walk my dog safely in my neighborhood as anyone else. But if they come at me and Kody I know I have what I need to defend myself and my pup.
    THERE IS A LEASH LAW IN MY COUNTY BUT NO ONE OBEYS IT.

  65. I have had that happen to me while walking our two small terriers. A Black Lab was the attacker as we were walking down a sidewalk heading to a walking path (my dogs were on a leash). One Terrier was bitten on the thigh as the owner came running. A trip to the vet and a few days of suffering for our Sadie was the result. The police were notified but what the result was I do not know. I used to work for a Rural Electric Cooperative and when I had to go in to a yard with a snarling dog I carried a heavy 12″ Crescent wrench and never had to use it. Guess I will have to start doing that again, not the dog’s fault if they are not properly trained but I will protect our girls! I have heard that a lawsuit for a dog that has been killed by a loose dog has a $150 Thousand dollar limit.

  66. I feel very sorry for the owner and the dog. But I must respond on behave of my situation. I have a large dog who’s reactive to other dogs. I keep him properly leashed, under control and at a safe distance from strange dogs at all times. However, we’ve encountered owners with small, ‘safe’ breeds either off leash or not under control while on leash, who run up to us on our walks. I have to yell to the owners to get there dogs or pull them back, while keeping my dog under control. Many times these ‘safe breed’ owners are telling me how friendly their dog is and how it only wants to play. Never thinking how rude it is to allow their dog to run up to a strange dog. Dogs are dogs no matter their breed or how they’re raised. Even well raised dogs can react aggressively at times. And some are just more reactive, for whatever reason, than others. It’s up to the owners to keep their dogs under control at all times.

  67. I was in a situation like this at 6am in the morning while I was walking my dog. One of the neighbors had 2 large German Shepards who everyone knew had problems and they just so happened to get out that morning. Thank you to the neighbors who all came running out as soon as I started to scream and stopped the dogs from hurting my dog or myself. This was a long time ago but it still feels like it today and there is nothing you can do about it. My heart goes out to you on the passing of your baby boy.

  68. I’ve run 10 miles a day or more with at least two Dalmatians for over 45 years. My senior female is too old, so only walks now. I run with my 7 year old male Dalmatian and we were attacked by two Shepherd mix dogs off lead three weeks ago. Thatcher had to have surgery to close two wounds. The owner was with them when it happened. He had their leashes flung over his shoulder.

    We came up to a blind corner of a busy street in Houston. We stopped several yards back not knowing what was coming around the corner. The off lead dogs preceded the owner around the corner and were on us before I could react. If not for another dog-savvy neighbor who happened to be driving by, Thatcher would have been killed. Thatcher wears a relatively tight martingdale collar (I have to take it off one ear at a time). The dogs’ owner tackled all three dogs and Thatcher’s head got squeezed in between both attacking dogs. He was so frantic he pulled out of his collar. I was relieved that Thatcher survived the initial attack and then faced the possibility of him racing out into the middle of the busy street and being hit by a car. If not for my Good Samaritan, we probably both would have been killed because I would have run out after him. I shudder to think what would have happened if 13 year old Reagan had been with us.

    As one might have guessed, the dogs were not vaccinated nor licensed. I later found out that their owner had been warned multiple times to put his dogs on a leash. We have a paid neighborhood patrol who are also Houston police officers. Our patrol told me they would ticket him if they see him again. Too late for me.

    To make matters worse, I was returning home from a run three days later (by myself as Thatcher had to recover) and the owner and the off lead dogs were walking in front of my house. I’m glad there were no children around because I just let him have it.

    He came back and brought me $200 which didn’t come close to paying for the surgery. I took it thinking maybe that was a way for him to learn his lesson. Nope–2 weeks later when I could run Thatcher, he was back out, dogs off lead.

    The city of Houston won’t do anything unless a person is bitten or scratched, so no help there. I now carry mace and an 18 inch stick/club with me. Although I didn’t have time to use my mace in my attack, I would have had time to use my club. Seems like we are on our own and have to take responsibility for defending ourselves and our dogs.

    I’m so sorry about Zazu.

  69. My previous dog Parker was attacked by an off-lead Staffie that pushed him over and stood rigid over him with its snout pressed into his belly. Parker was a 12 year old very mellow well-socialised Kerry Blue terrier. The Staffie’s owner was out of sight around the corner. Fortunately for Parker the Staffie had a chavvy leather and bronze harness that they like to put on that type of dog and I instantly swung into action, grabbed the harness and lifted the dog off him before it could bite him. The owner then ran around the corner, punched me in the face and grabbed the dog off me. I was screaming and screaming for help and for someone to call the police. My adrenaline was frantic! She started to walk away with the dog on the ground but I grabbed it again by its harness and in the meantime someone had called the police. The owner lied about the dog being off-lead and she hadn’t hit me and I had no witnesses. I later found out she lived very near my home and the dog had previously attacked another dog a Border Collie belonging to a neighbour which had resulted in this dog needing vet treatment but this bite had not been reported. After that incident I took up nordic walking so I have something with me to protect my dogs. When my current Kerry was a puppy I had an elderly Kerry blue to Izzy and we have had issues with some horrible owners who have an off-lead GSD Malamute cross. This dog has no recall is dog-aggressive and has also bitten a person that I know yet is still off-lead! I had warned the owners to keep this dog away from mine however when I had Magnus my puppy in a stroller (not fully vaccinated) they let it run up to my elderly dog. As I could not manage the stroller and a nordic walking pole I had a can of deodorant in my pocket which I sprayed in front of the dog and it bogged off. About a year after this I was walking my 2 dogs on some woods in Norwich when I saw the dog charging towards mine. I shouted at the owners to get their dog back but they didn’t so I wallopped it a few times with my walking pole. They then threatened me and were verbally abusive so I got their car number plate and reported this to the police also about their dog being out of control. The police visited and warned them about their behaviour and their dog must be under control. I try to avoid them but the next time we saw them they got hold of the dog and leashed it-result! I am so sorry to hear of the poor dog losing its life and the owner having to watch and be unable to save her. So very sad. A training club I attended had a lady with a very reactive Yorkshire terrier who would go nutty at the other dogs it was so fearful. This was because a loose Staffie had killed the other Yorkie she owned and the dog had witnessed it. I do think some breeds should be banned as Pit Bulls are in the UK-I have had so many bad incidents with this type of dog it is very scary. The owners do not leash the dogs alongside roads and I just cross over with my dogs to get away from their off-leash dogs and if they cross the road after my dogs and get hit by a car that is not my fault. We have leash laws but no dog warden to enforce them!

  70. I don’t believe dog aggression is “always” the owner’s fault. My border collie was attacked twice in his life, both times by pit bulls. The first time was in a dog park when he was less than a year old. He was happily playing with all the other dogs, including some other friendly pits, when the aggressor came streaking across the field heading straight for my dog; for some reason, she had marked my dog and began attacking him, till my dog fell to the ground. My dog never even fought back, he just cried out in terror. I was in shock, and didn’t know what to do. Other people stood watching, everything seemed frozen in time. Eventually, my dog managed to drag himself away. I ran to grab him, but then the other dog repeated her attack. I really thought my dog was being killed. The owner, who was on the other side of the field (obviously not properly watching her dog), finally came and dragged the dog off, saying her dog had never done that before. She quickly left while I inspected my poor dog’s wounds, which included a puncture to the ear and a mild shoulder gash. I had expected him to be in far worse shape, as the attack was so violent. This was obviously a case where the owner was to blame by not supervising her dog. Luckily, her dog had a very good bite inhibition, and I was so relieved my dog was physically ok. The problem was he was psychologically very traumatized, and so was I. I never took him to a dog park again. He wasn’t dog friendly after that, and would “air snap” and growl at any dog resembling a pit who came near him (even when they were being very friendly towards him). This fear aggression soon transferred to all large dogs, and he thereafter only liked small dogs. After about eight long years, he finally overcame his trauma with the help of training. I was so proud of him. Last summer he greeted every dog in the park by our house (not a dog park) and genuinely enjoyed their company. He was actually seeking out canine company! Unfortunately, just about a month ago, I was walking him (always on leash) at night in our neighborhood, when a loose pit came charging at us, growling loudly and very ferociously, teeth bared. It was absolutely terrifying. My dog and I both stopped dead in our tracks while the dog lunged at us, it felt like a slow motion movie. I thought it was the end. Thankfully, the owner was in the garage, and he came out just in time to grab the dog’s collar. No physical harm was done, but my dog is now re-traumatized and, overnight, has become very dog aggressive. I can no longer allow him to meet and greet dogs like he did last summer, as he viciously lunges at them with a loud, ferocious roar, baring teeth. He actually seems to be copying the same technique the last dog used on him! He’s an old senior dog now, and has never bit a dog, but I have a feeling I can never trust him around dogs again, because he now feels he cannot trust them. It sure isn’t his fault, and I don’t see how it’s mine. That’s my point. The owner should not always be judged. It’s now very humiliating for me to have to endure dirty looks from other people whenever he lunges at their dog’s, even though he’s always leashed and fully under my control. I need to exercise him, and if someone approaches me with their dog, I now warn them. Sometimes they don’t listen and come up to him anyway, and he air-snaps. And I know just what they are thinking. That I’m an incompetent dog owner. It actually hurts. That’s why I say it’s not always the owner’s fault when a dog acts aggressively. Something changed in my dog’s mind since last month when he was attacked. I sense it and will never allow him near a dog again (even though he doesn’t actually bite), as I don’t ever want another dog to be traumatized by HIM. Meanwhile, I’ll just endure the hateful stares. Deepest condolences to the beautiful Aussie who lost her life, I can’t imagine the owner’s anguish who witnessed it.

  71. Two wolves, unnsocialized and untrained, loose at night. They surround pedestrians and don’t let them move. Wolves do that to prey animals. Owner thought it was funny, and it made him feel powerful. Owner was a night owl.

    I went to his house and stood under the street light bellowing what would happen to him and his dogs if this continued. I had my bright silver big gun while I did this.

    It worked.

  72. Nancy asked if we had advice for Zazu’s owners or if we had ever experienced such behavior. . .
    This is a painful article to read, my heart bleeds for Zazu’s owners and I offer my deep sympathy for this tragic event. I am so sorry this happened to Zazu and pray the couple finds peace from all the prayer and good energy being directed their way as a result of this article and media coverage.

    There is much good information in the comments left by so many caring people. I think learning what the laws are in our city/county/township etc is critical. Reporting each and any incident to AC, documenting through 911 calls, vet bills, witness statements, canvassing the neighborhood and getting a good lawyer all make excellent sense.
    Having Mace, bear spray, pepper spray etc are good ideas. A taser or cattle prod, pistol, air horn or baseball bat are good ideas. Treats to throw-good idea.

    However, I believe we need more–and that is situational awareness. It is our job to be responsible for our pets AND be their advocate at all times. We cannot be using a cell phone, listening to music, using a pull out leash, and blithely meandering while walking the dog. We must be AWARE of our surroundings: are there other dogs walking and is that owner paying attention, is the dog barking maniacally behind the fence up ahead truly contained, is the dog barking in a house ahead-are the windows and doors closed or is there a screen it can leap through? Is the kid on the skateboard/scooter with his face buried in his cell phone wearing earbuds going to see me and my dog? Or will the group of bicyclists approaching from behind frighten my dog and can I maintain control? It’s a big responsibility and unfortunately there is danger in the world and pet parents need to be prepared.

    Learn canine body language-WDJ has great articles to review. Assume every other pet parent isn’t skillful at knowing/handling their dog when out walking so you can be ready to respond. Rehearse how to use your spray or taser. If you walk the same route every time, look around for safe areas–if you see a loose dog coming after you aggressively could you jump into a doorway, behind a massive tree, put your back against a building or fence? Hop onto the hood of a car or SUV? Have a plan in your mind — these are our fur children and we must be ready and able to protect them as well as ourselves. It happens so fast, it is SHOCKING and noisy and frightening. Don’t let go of your leash, do all you can to save your dog, remember to grab the offending dogs collar and choke it, grabs its tail to pull it away, use your spray or taser–do your best. Do whatever it takes and make a lot of noise doing it so others will hear and come help you. Think it through and mentally plan before any emergency happens and you’ll be better at handling an event of this nature.

    God bless everyone who’s been harmed, suffered or terrorized by aggressive dog attacks. I pray for you, I weep with you and I do my best to be prepared. I’ve been there, too.

  73. I’ve been in a dangerous situation where two PIT BULLS run into my yard…I climbed on the top of my car and screamed till the owner appeared, The owner of these PIT BULLS lived in a rental property and seemed he had the dogs out on a rope to give him heads up if someone approached the house. I was lucky and shortly thereafter they moved after the owner of the home and the police became aware of their activities.

    • I own a PIT BULL (as typed out by Marion D Zottarelli above) and he’s been attacked twice by dogs at large while we were out walking and I can’t do anything about it because I called animal control the first and was told by animal control “You know, all the owner of the dog that attacked yours has to say is “look, that’s a pit bull so you know he started it” and if someone other than me comes out, you’ll be lucky if they don’t take & kill your dog even though he was the one that was attacked. That’s the nature of the breed you own. They get blamed for everything, even when they’re the victim.” I’ve since moved and live in a much smarter community, but there’s still idiots out there who don’t want to take responsibility and will use strong, powerful breeds as scapegoats to excuse their own lack of responsibility.

      I am so sorry for what happened to Zazu. I live with the fear anytime I see a stray dog because my dog is not a fighter & not good at defending himself, but I also live with the fear that someone else’s dog will do something wrong and blame my dog as an easy target because of attitudes like Mr. Zottarelli, so we have a double whamy of fear to live with. It makes me want to be an irresponsible owner and not take my dog out in public or out to socialize.

  74. In my neighborhood, there are many dogs. It is a shame that when I walk my dog I have to carry a .380 Ruger pistol. I would get in much trouble with the police should I have to shoot an attacking dog, but my dog will live so I am ready to face the consequences.

  75. I am very sad for the owner of the Aussie, this was a tragic outcome of poor management. I have 2 Rottweilers, and they are the 2nd and 3rd of the breed that I have owned. Two were/are Canine Good Citizens, the first was a therapy dog, and the 3rd is being groomed for the same work. They are not “killing machines.” This post seems to be devolving into a discussion on breed rather than proper management and recourse for the victim. Also, there were some serious assumptions made about the care of these dogs without including any facts. We don’t know that the dogs had been “denied the stimulation of an active dog like Zazu, locked up with no exercise, reduced to a life of breeding and reproduction, over and over.” We live in a major city, and my neighbors would likely not even know that we have dogs unless they have seen us out walking, as my dogs are not left unsupervised in the yard, unlike the many dogs in our neighborhood that are allowed to bark constantly. However, I don’t see many of my neighbors while we walk, so they would’t know how frequently my dogs are walked. They also wouldn’t know that my dogs travel with me, swim at least once week, take training classes and compete in dog sports. I expect better from WDJ.

    • Hi
      I’m Zazu’s mom. I have lived in my neighborhood 27 years. I know my neighbors and I know nearly every dog. I also have neighbors that basically police the area during the day and know every movement people make. I have spoken with these neighbors (including one who lived directly across the street) and they are the ones who told us the dogs were for breeding purposes and said the dogs seemed very nice with people. So WDJ got this information from me, and as you will see in a moment, I believe it to be accurate.
      When the police called me to come get my husband and Zazu, saying he had been attacked by two Rottweilers, I knew exactly which dogs attacked our dog (who was wearing a lighted collar and was on a special lead as well as my husband wearing shoe lights as it was still dark). These dogs lived one block over and I have never seen the owners walk them. We however, have walked by their home several times with our Aussie and three wieners. Although the Rotties always barked, they were behind an iron gate and we thought nothing of it. Someone left the gate open that morning. My husband was a block away. He battled the dogs for 15 minutes. At one point each dog had one end of Zazu and literally stretched him so his feet were off the ground. Christine…that is not a well socialized pair of Rotties. I asked the vet why they would have gone so far out of their way in the dark and HE said, “because they’re killers.” Now I know they don’t have to be killers…BUT…when it’s a backyard breeder that knows nothing about the breed and just lets them rot behind a gate…that’s a recipe for disaster. And that’s part of the the point of this blog. Will we sue? No. In CA there is little recourse and I don’t want my husband to have to keep reliving it. Animal control has sent them to a Rottweiler rescue out of the area. The female just gave birth..she was very pregnant at the time of the attack which we did not know. The owners never attempted to get them back. And although that makes me breathe easier, it also breaks my heart. They weren’t pets, Christine.
      We do need to regulate dog breeding for those breeds who have a proven track record of being dangerous dogs. They must be bred by responsible, professional breeders who can demonstrate that they have the expertise to produce outstanding dogs. My hope is the backyard breeder becomes a thing of the past, that stricter laws be written to protect the victims, and leash laws be taken seriously. We will be meeting with the humane society next week to see what we can do (they asked us for the meeting). That’s the only way I can think of to bring some meaning to Zazu’s death. My husband suffers flashbacks several times a day…the shear violence of it has made this death very difficult to process. So Christine, instead of criticizing the Journal, how about thanking them for bringing attention to something that, judging from this extremely long thread, clearly resonates with too many other victims.

  76. After one of my dogs was attacked and injured at I dog park, I stopped going to dog parks and started carrying bear spray on walks. In situations where it is not too out of place I also carry a hand carved but sturdy hiking stick.

  77. I think it must be a common thing for cities towns etc who have leash laws dont enforce them.

    I had a 12 year old female aussie years ago that a dog probably put mix slipped is collar and came over and circled my dog. Then latched onto her neck. Luckily it was her skin but I was in the middle of it holding on to her neck so he wouldnt rip her throat out. The woman walking did nothing. Finally my neighbor came out and managed to kick him off. She had a puncture so off to the ER we went.

    We have a muzzle law for puts and wolf hybrids but also not enforced. I live 2 blocks from our city park and repeatedly run into people with loose dogs. There is a leash law and actually leash is not supposed to be over 6 foot.

    I have now 3 times ran into an older couple who have 2 dogs that they have off leash. Very little control over the dogs. They do seem dig friendly but I am walking 4 dogs. One who can be leash reactive. I dont want anyone’s dogs coming up to me. I have repeatedly told them they are supposed to be on a leash.

    Too many people have dogs that shouldn’t. If there is a leash law then keep your dogs leashed. Not everyone’s dog is friendly. The owners are not watching for anyone coming with a dog. I am not mad at the dog it is the owner I want to take a ball bat to.

    People are so inconsiderate and pretty much do what they want to do regardless.

    My heart breaks for these people losing their gorgeous aussie.

  78. Hi, I was told by an animal control officer after a near attack of my foster dog by a Pitbull to carry a second leash. She said pepper spray won’t work on some breeds. She asked me if I could put a leash around the attacking dogs neck and choke till it passed out, intention is not to kill it, but get it to pass out. In a situation of going after my dogs or me I could, but pray I never have to. I have a fearful dog and don’t walk her in my neighborhood because there is a neighbor who has an American Bulldog/pit mix that is about 70-80 lbs & tall and fence is only 3 feet tall. I also had a small dog try and bite my oblivious senior Golden/Spaniel mix in the backside & I kicked back and got him under the muzzle I think, and he ran off. I had yelled to the owner prior to get his dog that had been following us, he didn’t and he went after my dog. It is the owners fault not the dogs nor the breed, anything that has teeth can bite. Owners need to be held responsible and should monitor their dogs. I have a fenced yard, but I still go outside with my dogs, having a fearful dog (admitted abuse by her former owner) I need to monitor her surrounding and reassure her. She has come a long way and built a lot of confidence with trust, love and positive only training methods and classes.

  79. My heart goes out to Zazu and his owners. How sad. Living in the woods of NH, a lot of people up here carry Bear Spray, available at hunting stores. It is supposedly more powerful than pepper spray for a very large aggressive dog. Fortunately I haven’t had to use it yet, but I won’t hesitate to if need be.

  80. I am so very sorry for what happened to Zazu.I am a retired dog trainer.I have come into a lit of dogs who are aggressive.When you get a dog you have to consider their DNA.Alot of aggression starts when young puppies all eat from the same big food dish.That starts Food aggression,then dominance to territorial aggression.You can tie any dog out on chains or cables and expect them NOT to have behavioral problems.You can have a champion best in show dog and then tie them outside after the show..You have to spend time with your dog.They NEED to be socialized NOT just as puppies, even if you get a dog from the shelter, spend time with it.Dont tie it outside to protect you.Quality time vs. Quantity time..If you don’t want an aggressive dog look at its DNA.If it has a problematic behavioral issue, it’s important to examine the breeds and consider what they were additionally bred to do..Would you tie out a golden retriever??? They were meant to hunt..consider all issues.Read the Akc breed standard book of breeds.Look at your life style with the breeds of dogs.What is your fit..

  81. Poor Zazu!!!
    This is a travesty on many levels. The first is that two spoilt strong dogs were running free in public; the second that they are classified with other big strong dogs that are well-trained and well-behaved.
    A spoilt dog may be tiny – but it’s the bigger ones that are given all the rap of being killing machines etc.
    A badly behaved dog can be of any size – just like children there are the sweet ones and then there are brats!!! It’s all up to their parents and with dogs, their owners.
    I know a huge rottweiler who everybody in my area knows to be totally amazing; whereas a little German Spitz bites and growls at anything.
    Same thing about chihuahuas – they don’t all bark a lot – if they are well corrected they are little angels.
    So really – don’t blame the breed – blame the owner.

  82. This is heartbreaking. While it won’t bring back the dog, a lawsuit for negligent infliction of emotional distress and costs related to the dog’s end of life expenses could be brought. A judgement could be served against their house, or their homeowners insurance, or against their landlord. This could even be done by the owner in small claims court.
    As much as we love our dogs, canine bullies are pretty common. There is a fine line between territorial barking and posturing and a fight that degenerates causing serious injury or death. We can’t read our dogs’ minds. This is one reason I would not trust my dogs to a dog walker.
    As horrible as this is, it isn’t unknown, and if there are canine/owner bad actors in one’s neighborhood documentation by complaints to law enforcement seems necessary. I am not sure if anything would be effective against large muscular dogs like rotties, akitas, dogos, etc. acting in concert, but tasers, pepper spray, a stout hiking staff, and even a permitted pistol might offer some protection.
    As ghastly as a pet’s death is, elderly walkers are also targeted. I remember an incident in north Chico, in the 1990s, when Akitas that escaped their kennel, killed an elderly man walking on the street. It may seem unneighborly to complain about your neighbor’s loose dogs, but it might prevent a tragedy.

  83. I have had run-ins with loose dogs a number of times. A former resident of my area had a few pit bulls and pit mixes that used to get out all the time! Most of the time this occurred while my wife and son, who is on the Autism Spectrum, were out walking our 2 small dogs. No one was ever attacked, but they would get uncomfortably close to my son and were not easily deterred. I called animal control on at least 3 occasions before anything was done. They have since moved, so things are back to normal.

  84. I witnessed a situation in which an aggressive dog latched on to another in the middle of the street. The whole neighborhood ran out and people started kicking and hitting the dog but he would not let go. Then one random guy walked up with a leash, crossed it around the aggressive dogs neck and held it tight. After a few seconds the dog went limp for just a millisecond but it caused him to let go. He was completely fine and the other dog only had a few punctures.

    I can’t emphasize enough how effective this method is if a dog bites and won’t let go. I’ve had to use this tactic three times in my life working in dog kennels. You can accomplish the same thing by spraying water or citronella up the dogs nose. Its the quickest and least harmful way to get the dog to let go.

    I hope no one ever has to put this to use, but knowing this trick can make a huge difference and possibly save your dogs life and the life of the attacking dog.

    • Sara, thank you for a calm, non-emotional, proactive response.
      The story you tell and your verification of its effectiveness is one of the best parts of this entire hot mess.

  85. To Zazu’s human: Zazu was a beautiful and sweet dog. The bond you shared is obvious from the picture. She was loved and she loved you and that will stay in your heart forever. I am so sorry for your loss and having to witness the horror. There is no recourse.

  86. My heart breaks for the trauma this family is going through. Poor sweet Zazu…
    As long as there are irresponsible owners, attacks will continue!
    It’s those same dog owners that shouldn’t have children either…
    Heart wrenching to say the least.

  87. I am a dog walker/pet sitter and a loose dog is my worse nightmare. I have run into loose dogs but thankfully none have been aggressive. The days of letting your dog run loose are over. There are too many people and animals to make this possible. Dogs may get loose on their own. If this happens once, it’s a mistake to be corrected. If it keeps happening, you hope that nothing bad occurs. I have had owners with pits and other powerful dogs ask if I’d care for them. They are no different than other dogs. I tell the owners that if I see a problem with the dog (any breed), I’m looking at the other end of the leash (owner)! This was a tragic situation and my heart goes out to the family. Our four footed kids are here for such a short time. Of course, only the good die young, says a lot about mankind!

  88. I am heartbroken for Zazu’s family! I have to say that I have been in several situations with my own dogs, and with other people’s dogs as their pet-sitter, in which neighborhood dogs have threatened us. Luckily, it never escalated to anything like what poor Zazu went through! It just amazes me how many people just allow their dogs to run loose in a suburban neighborhood. When living in one of these neighborhoods, I used to walk my three girls around 5:30 in the morning just to avoid these dogs that people would just open their front doors and allow to run loose. I no longer live in an area like this, now living in a more semi-rural area, and I only walk my dogs on trails in fields and woods, but we still have to be careful, only going out in the early morning or in the evening just before sunset, to avoid the folks who come out and let their dogs run off-leash and leave their piles of dog poop everywhere.

  89. I think authorities are too lenient with dogs that have a history of attacking other dogs and/or humans. The offending dog in this story should have been euthanized. One and done if it kills another animal or causes serious injury to a person. There is a pit bull on my street that has attacked and almost killed another dog. Same dog sent a boy to the ER with major bite. The dog was quarantined, ordered to be neutered, and that’s pretty much it. I’m sorry, but I have no problem with humanely euthanizing a dog that would cause a horrific and painful death for another animal or attack a person. These dogs end up being dumped back in the shelters for it to be placed and attack another dog or person before being dumped back at a shelter, again. Dogs at shelters should be tested for aggression to other animals or people. The City should be held liable for releasing these types of dogs into society. I am all for “no kill”of seniors or special needs dogs. Zero tolerance for known aggressors. Any size dog can be aggressive, but the bigger the breed, more damage can be done. Many countries, including most of the EU ban power breeds.

  90. I think people do not report attacks all to often. My sisters dog was attacked just this year by two Rottweilers who bolted through the owners screen door. He managed to slip away before they clamped down on him but he was bitten up pretty badly on his back end. My Grandpa who was walking him was also bitten. The lady could not easily pull her dog off. The Doctor who saw my grandpa for the bite told my Grandpa to report it but he did not as the lady said she would pay for Vet bills. She sadly didn’t pay more than a quarter of the huge Vet bills. My sisters dog has now become permanently lame from this attack but due to being able to twist free still has his life. The same dogs chased someone else the next week. I know not all big breeds like this are bad. My dog and I came across two loose pit bulls. They looked at us but wandered on down the path and did not attack. I was lucky they were good well adjusted dogs and I was scared I was ready to throw my dog and myself over the fence in a nearby yard if needed. I had one dog that came after mine when I had my then 3yr old son with me. So scary luckily the dog was zeroed in on my dog and tuned all humans out so I managed with help to contain it with no harm done but I kept myself between that dog and my loved ones which could have been risky if it had been aggressive toward me. So many incidences where I have been lucky it is scary sometimes to walk my dog we have had so many close calls.

  91. I should put stories about my Rottweiler being attack while I’m out taking her for a walk in my own area!! She’s been attack twice once by a German Shepard and once by a Boston Terrier!!! My Rottweiler doesn’t do anything to dogs or cats . She has never been taught to be that way. So obviously it’s the owners not the breed!!!! This is my third Rottweiler I have owned. When I take her to the vet she is very well behaved they look forward of seeing her. She sits on a bench and watches everything!! Of all dogs I have owned Rottweilers are the best just big babies. The trick is people don’t walk and run them enough!! So shame on people who have never owned one!!

  92. It may be possible to sue for personal injury. A civil case. However, you will need to see a doctor to establish this and perhaps you should. Incidents like this cause PTSD. You witnessed the attack and were unable to help your dog and your dog died from the injuries sustained in the attack. This in incredibly traumatic and leaves an psychological imprint. It may not be apparent right away, but after a span you might have trouble sleeping, suffer unexplained anxiety – there’s a whole list of things. It certainly impacts your personal life and might impact your work life. You can’t get your dog returned but you might be able to put these people out of business. Lawyer time.

  93. Many years ago I had a Toy Fox Terrier/Chihuahua mix who was attacked by our neighbour’s Weimaraner while she was on her own property. Her windpipe was crushed, but she survived another two or three years. Our neighbours never offered to pay the vet bills or even keep the dog up. Unfortunately, at the time, there was no leash law in the town where I lived.

  94. Sadly our court system views pets as chattel, personal property just like a table or a lamp. The only thing you can recover normally is the cost of a replacement animal and the vet bills. There is no recovery for pain and suffering or emotional distress. I am in a situation where the vet poisoned my dog thru her incompetence and then lied to me about x rays and lab results. She robbed me of any chance to save him in an effort to cover her ass. I am filing suit for wrongful death and fraud. The wrongful death recovery will be limited by the laws classification of pets as chattel. There is no limit on the fraud part of it and it is my only chance to really achieve justice. Of course the lying vet and her insurance company are going to do everything they can to lie their way out of it and create a diversion to distract attention from the disgusting pathetic behavior of the rotted vet.

  95. First i want to say my heart breaks for the death of this dog. My dogs are like my children. I have now and have had rotties for many years. I have had many breeds and the rottie is my favorite. It is not the dogs it is the owner. I have on many occasions had people see i have a rottie and because of a few bad dogs are scared to approach my dog. Then they are around my dogs and fall in love with them and some have gotten rotties themselves. Also, size has nothing to do with agressiveness. I would walk my rottie in a neighborhood and these 2 chihauhaus would come running out their door and attack my rottie. My rottie would not react. I was terrified that if she chose to defend herself, i knew nothing would be done to the aggressors but my rottie could be taken away and possibly put down. I own rental properties and there as been some dog bites. Every case was by small dogs. These were done by chihauhaus and a dachshund and a labradoodle. One bite given by a chihuahua caused the recipient to seek medical attention. Stop vilifying large dogs and instead look to the owners for letting these dogs down by a lack of socializing and training.

  96. Take the owners and all those people envolved of those killer dogs to court and sue them for murder. Also, have the police write a ticket and have them arrested if possible. I don’t care what their ages are, they ARE responsible. They can also pay dearly for a replacement. Too harsh you say? NO. PEOPLE HAVE TO LEARN RESPOSIBILITY. TAKE A LOOK AT ALL THE UNCONTROLABLE CHILDREN TODAY. People in our goofy irresponsible society need to learn the HARD way.

  97. My collie puppy and I were attacked 02 September 2012 – Labor Day at 7:30 am. We ever saw or heard the dog coming. He was hiding behind us and went over my shoulder removing the middle finger on my left hand. He kept running away from us and I was shocked, but happy to see him leaving. He did a large U turn then came back for a full frontal assault. My hand was bleeding so bad I could call for help. The screen covered in blood. The police received 10 calls from neighbors who heard my screams but it took them 22 minutes to arrive. During that time, I tried throwing treats away from us, I put myself between the dog and my puppy and we turned and twisted frantically to keep my puppy safe. The pittbull won and tore my dogs intestines out and then grabbed him by the throat. I was kicking and poking my fingers in his eyes (which he rolled back i his head). He thought he had killed my dog and turned on me. He broke the joints in my hands and sunk his teeth and ripped skin off my legs and abdomen. I was fighting to stay on my feet but in the end I was in shock and had lost too much blood to hold on so I laid over my puppy in one last effort to protect him. The police arrived in riot gear and in force just as he was coming for my throat and the pittbull suddenly stopped and sat nicely. The police ordered me to get away from MY dog. They were going to put both dogs in the animal control vehicle. My dog was still alive thanks to his large mane around his neck. I picked up my dog and started to run for home. The police threatened to shoot me if I didn’t stop. The EMT’s urged the police to drop their weapons and came after me. They refused to allow me to take my dog to emergency, but a man standing there agreed to do so. I was taken to the local hospital, where I was told “We don’t do land shark injuries”. She goes to Northwestern – a large hospital in the city of Chicago that has an entire wing and staff for dog bites. I took the opportunity to refuse help and asked to be taken home. I drove to the agreed upon emergency room, and discussed may dogs condition and signed for emergency surgery. I sat there until my dog was out of surgery holding my finger in a bag of ice. Over the course of the next few months, I was told by several Vets and Veterinary Schools to just put my collie down. He was unable to digest food or hold down anything. I met an holistic vet when my dog was less than 1/2 his normal weight, and he was able to slowly bring my dog back. He takes many herbs and supplements and will for life. He has continuing bouts but with less frequency.
    I spent months trying to recover from my injuries. Since dog bites can’t be stitched up for fear of infection, bandages that grow new skin were used on the areas where the flesh was removed in sheets. It was a long time healing since the bandages had to be changed four times daily and the new skin stuck to the bandages. I will never be able to close my hands again and bear the scars from the attack. The worst scars are the fear we feel every time we go for a walk. I found out just how prevalent these attacks are after the fact. They are not published to protect the mayors and property values. The owner of this dog received a $40.00 dollar fine. We got a life sentence.

    • It is the dog. Breeds bred to kill other dogs often do so. The problem in our country is stories like your happen everyday and there’s no protection for our pets. I firmly believe that dog should be put down.
      I have a Collies too. They are gentle souls. I hope you and your boy continue to heal.
      Check out dogbites.org
      They have resources and support for people who have been attacked by dogs.

    • Ruth, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I hope the dog was put down. What a horrific event. This highlights one of my concerns with the “adopt, don’t shop” mantra, considering that the shelters are full of pits and pit mixes. I worry about clueless suburbanites adopting dogs that are too much for then. My own sister adopted a pit mix puppy a few years ago, and he already has a [human] bite history. He is super sweet with his immediate family, but he’s a very powerful dog, and he’s not stable. Pit bull advocates, you have your work cut out for you. Not everyone is suited to be a pit bull owner.

  98. P.S. Please don’t say it’s not the dog – it’s the owners. The Veterinary Researchers know there is a defect in their brains that cause them to go temporarily insane – then back again to normal. I have heard countless horror stories since my experience. I don’t think it’s a matter of if but when. We literally drive to industrial parks away from houses, people and dogs. I have tried numerous areas over the years, and always encountered loose dogs and trouble.

  99. P.S. Please don’t say it’s not the dog – it’s the owners. The Veterinary Researchers know there is a defect in their brains that cause them to go temporarily insane – then back again to normal. I have heard countless horror stories since my experience. I don’t think it’s a matter of if but when. We literally drive to industrial parks away from houses, people and dogs. I have tried numerous areas over the years, and always encountered loose dogs and trouble.

  100. This happened to us just a few days ago and we are devastated. The Tibetan Mastiff next door got loose and attacked my beautiful little boy who was sleeping outside my door in the sun. I tried to get the mastiff off but he took Jerry in his mouth like a rag doll and ran off. I ran after them screaming at the top of my lungs. When he finally released him, i rushed Jerry to the vet and I stayed with him the whole time the vet and techs tried to save him. I told him how much we loved him, that it wasn’t his time. He did not make it. The mastiff’s owners texted me – texted – many times at first with apologies and “reasons” it happened. Animal control is involved, but there is no requirement to put the dog down, which is what I want. There are heightened requirements for containment, warning signs on the property, $100,000 insurance policy, etc but none of it is enough for me. Someday, somebody won’t lock a gate properly or will forget one little thing and that dog will get out again. Horrifying

  101. MACE- BEAR SPRAY if your in the outdoors on trails- you have to be vigilant with all types of wild animals,,been on plenty of hikes hearing coyotes in the distance ,,In todays society – the majority of owners say – OH MY BAD, maybe your dog provoked him, , its never happened before,,,, Oh well they are just animals… Well plain and simple id rather pull out the mace and spray and say MY BAD-Id rather wash my dogs eyes out of the spray than have to put him to sleep, your dog was coming in as aggressive and me not loose my dog or loose a finger or go the hospital for stitches,,,,or worse… My responsibility is my dogs safety and mine if your out of control SO SORRY. Deal with it.

  102. My little elder Shi Tzu was attacked by a pit bull last week while on leash in our front yard. Unfortunately I could not pick him up fast enough to save him from the jaws of the pit bull. My husband tried to pry the jaws of the pit bull to release our little Koko but when successful the dog just grabbed him again. The pits owner was finally able to get his dog off and take him home. We were all so traumatized by we only saw superficial damage and our vet said by phone just keep an eye on him. Well a day and a half later Koko had his head leaning well of to one side and his balance was so off that he could not stand or walk on his own. He spent that day in the vet hospital on IV and had blood work and x-rays. Our vet then referred him to a specialist hospital where he was admitted for an MRI and further tests. It has been a horrible experience but Koko is slowly recovering on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. As for the attacking dog and owners they have taken responsibility for this and paid all costs. They are hoping to re-home the dog as I told them I would not report it to authorities i they took action themselves, I am trusting the dog will not offend again and be re-homes where it is 100% contained at all times.

    • SILLES, in my opinion dog attacks should always be reported. If there is not an official record of a dog’s previous attacks, new attacks will be treated as first time offenses. It’s nice that the people who own the attacking dog are stepping up, but rehoming a dog-aggressive dog is not a great solution. The problem is just being passed along to someone else, who may be even less equipped to deal with the dog. If the dog attacks another dog in the future, that is blood on the original owner’s hands. Anyway, I appreciate that you are in a tough spot, but it’s just something to think about, at least for the future.

    • I’m very sorry to hear what happened to your little dog but it is being irresponsible if you do not report this dog. It oculd mean the dog does it to another dog who may not survive. My elderly dog was attacked by a Staffie who lived nearby , fortunately I was able to lift the 88stard off him by its chavvy leather and bronze harness. However, I later found out this dog had attacked another neighbour’s dog before which he had not reported the attack yet his dog had required vey treatment. When the police came to my incident (I wa also assaulted by the vicious dog’s owner) she lied and said the dog had not been off-lead and she had not assaulted me and I had no witnesses. If this previous attack had been reported it would added more credence to my story.

  103. Three years ago, I had a 10 year old mini schnauzer who was on a leash in his own yard trying to go to the bathroom, when the two neighbors next to me let there dogs out without supervision. This was a dalmatian and a very large boxer who proceeded to attack my poor dog. I pulled my back out badly that lasted for a year trying to get them off of him and came inside and called the dog warden and made a statement. Now these two low lifes treat me like I am a leper when they are the cause of it all. I have a new puppy now thats a year old and will be putting up a fence around my house and property. I am convinced that some people do not deserve any dogs let alone good neighbors!

  104. I have 2 wonderful dogs, a black lab and a boxer/pit. My Grandson trained both dogs to protect me when ever I was outside of the house. I live on 6 acres of land which is up against a large and deep forest which is a home for deer, wolves and other animals. They aren’t what came after me is was a large malamute, my black lab got in between us and took the dog down until it surrender, my lab didn’t even get hurt can;t say the same for the Malamute. While my boxer/pit stayed in front of me in case the lab couldn’t take down the dog. And they did not act like a pack, at least that how it look to me. My Grandson trained the dogs right and with lots of love.

  105. Unfortunately, I know all too well about attacks. My beautiful and soft natured Alaskan Malamute (a breed that get maligned often) has been attacked by English mastiffs, two rotties (who also attacked me) and then a rottie lab mix. At no point was she the aggressor. First time was 3 months of age, second 6 months, then 9 months, then 12 months. The Rottweilers. The owner did not stop her dog. We were at on off-leash dog park. She was playing frisbee with a retriever, who only just met. Rottweiler showed up and had a go. My dog does not retreat, she argues back. I stepped between, grabbed mine, and the blasted thing attacked me, ripping my clothes and biting my hands. A complete stranger (retriever owner) realised the owner was not bothering, when another rottie arrived, thankfully for him, as I would have been attacked by both and at 56kgs, that would have been pretty dire. NEVER going to another dog park – EVER! The last one was the lab mix. They met, mine on lead, it off, owner across the park. seemed all fine, turned to leave and the bloody thing went for her withers. unprovoked, and we were leaving. That was my girl’s lot of dogs. Now we are the bad people, she is never off the lead, never allowed to roam, because she is now fearful. She has been at the dog trainers with his dogs off lead and no problems, but these dogs off lead are an issue. I can control mine, but not these free wheeling pups who owners say “oh my dog is never a problem” bull! Put dogs on leads, have common sense. Or guess what? Dogs will suffer our stupidity and will be banned. Have some thought about that.

  106. My dog was attacked in May by 2 loose dogs. Although on the bite scale they did not rate high, it was clear that by the location of the bites, the dog were clearly attempting to break legs (immobilize) disembowel and kill.

    I have started carrying cat kibble and a rawhide in a ziplock bag so I have something to distract any loose dogs.
    It has worked so far the one time I tried it with a loose but clearly friendly dog.

  107. So sad to read this. My hearfelt condolences for your friend.
    It is an all too common occurence in Mexico where I live. It happens more often to me as I regularly walk my dogs and luckily I never had a fatal fight in the streets. As an owner of a dog and a citizen, the first thing you have to do, is to report dogs when they are loose even nothing happens. This builds up a history of the owner and it authorities do not have to wait until a fight with serious consequences takes place, but can act based on a series of complaints about the same dogs/ owners.
    As for separating a fight when only one person is present, there is very little chance, but my advice always is to let your own dog off the leash in this serious situation, so he has at least the possibility to run. Which of course, is no guarantee that nothing happens as two dogs attacking my just pin the one dog down and leave little chance.
    I hope for no one ever to go through this.
    Unfortunately, it is also not a solution to euthanize the attacking dogs, as the problem is with the owners. These dogs will be killed and they get another pair to continue to fulfill their sick needs (whatever this is). You are right to say, it is not the dogs fault, so act accordingly. There are places, where these dogs can be trained to control their instincts and this is what they would deserve. Being taken away from their owners and they would need to pay for the rehabilitation of their dogs and prohibited for lifetime to ever own a bigger dog.

  108. How horrendous for Zazu’s owners…I truly wish them peace of mind and heart, but I know it will some time before this happens.
    The scenario happened to me to twice :
    once over 20 years ago with our young golden on a leash, a dog out of no where ran up and attacked him, my husband kicked at him and he retreated.
    The other time , we had three dogs on leash….a Rot broke open the front screen door, ran up to my 60 lb male, but not in a friendly , just interested manner….by this time I was screaming….then he became interested in one of my 15 lb females….the male owner finally came out , grabbed him and held him by lifting his chest and front legs…..we made a hasty retreat….of course, I didn’t have very nice things to say….. I could tell things could go very wrong in just seconds.
    One thing to keep in mind is that with two dogs ,they facilitate each other, arouse each other, and likely much more dangerous than one on by itself.

  109. I’m heartbroken for Zazu’s family. There is no reason for them to have lost their beloved dog.

    I have been on both sides of this scenario but fortunately no serious injuries were sustained, although I will in the future follow the suggestion of other commenters to carry mace or pepper spray while running with my dog.

    I want to clarify some of the dangerous breed ideology that has been expressed in some of the previous posts. Any dog, regardless of breed or size, can exhibit aggressive behavior. It is not a breed specific trait. I do agree with previous commenters that owners of large powerful breeds need to be responsible and be able to control their dog. Obviously dog aggression is more dangerous when a large powerful breed is involved. Aggression is an individual personality trait. I have seen a large Rottweiler cower behind his owner when attacked by a dog half his size.

    My previous dog was a rescued pit bull. She was socially well adjusted and was comfortable with all dogs and people. At the time I lived in a mountain community where everyone hiked with their dogs off leash with no incidents. I don’t know what to attribute the sociability of all these dogs to, but they all got along. My dog was physically very strong and I trained her to wear a gentle leader when I needed to bring her to town where she needed to be leashed. The gentle leader is a very effective way to walk a large powerful dog who pulls. One day a mixed breed dog who was not a local dog, unwisely attacked and bit my pit bull through her ear. That is when I saw her breed’s innate ability to defend itself emerge. She pinned the other dog down to the ground by the neck. It looked terrible and I thought she was going to kill the other dog. I had her release the dog who was amazingly unharmed. My pit bull had defended herself and could have easily caused serious injury to the attacking dog but had used only the force needed to stop the attack. If her breed was inherently dangerous, she would have killed or caused serious harm.

    My current dog is a rescued Australian Shepherd like Zazu. We now live in a suburban area where there are also lots of dogs. Unfortunately she came to me with serious behavioral problems which didn’t become apparent until she had been with me for a while. She is reactive to strange dogs and can be fear aggressive towards strange people too. If given an opportunity to slowly meet friendly dogs or people, she is fine. Her behaviorist recommended that I train her to wear a Baskerville muzzle, so even though she is fine 90% of the time, she never goes outside without her muzzle. She also wears a harness on outings, so that if she lunges suddenly, I can have a firm grip on the harness. My dog has a lot of anxiety problems which we tackle with medication, desensitization, and behavior modification. It is a LOT of work. She has made a great deal of progress over the years. Unfortunately, other people with aggressive dogs are not equally conscientious. My dog has been attacked several times by other dogs who’ve escaped from their leashes or yards. Since she is muzzled, she is unable to defend herself. She fortunately hasn’t been physically hurt but her fear of strange dogs escalates after each incident and our desensitization and behavior modification has to begin again every time. It is traumatic for my dog and exhausting for me.

    My personal experience illustrates that aggression is not inherent in the breed but in the individual dog.

    Ultimately we have to be responsible dog parents for our own dogs and their behavior but also vigilant for dogs and owners that choose not to be responsible.

  110. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Zazu looks very much like a rescue (blue tho) Merle Aussie We had a few years back, and it upsets me terribly to imagine Maggie being attacked like that. How horrific to have to go through such an experience.

    I sincerely hope this serves as a reminder to everyone to report dog aggression so it creates a record.

    As much as I hate breed stereotyping, I believe that some dogs are better able to handle irresponsible owners than others. We have a female rescue Doberman who was terribly abused before we got her. We adore her, and she is my husband’s Velcro dog, but he’d never had a Doberman prior to her (I had) and i’ve had to train my husband to be careful to watch people around her. They may mean well, but this dog came with baggage, one of which is that no one but us can reach over or touch her head. As a result she’s never off lead outside our 3 acre dog yard – we live on 50 acres – we have 4 rescue dogs – the others are Goldens and a Golden mix and she’s always been perfect with ANY dog we introduce to her. We did foster another female Doberman from a rescue a few years back who was terribly aggressive. We tried like crazy to get things to work out as we knew we were her 3rd and out chance. But we decided it wasn’t worth causing such trauma to our sweet Layla, and reluctantly returned the second Doberman to the rescue after 4 months.

    I have friends who have pits and they are superb family dogs. Superb. But just like people, animals are individuals, and they could have issues from past experiences or abuse, or brain chemistry. Frankly, I think there are fewer messed up animals than messed up people.

    Again, so sorry for the loss of Zazu.

  111. Throwing treats and spray shield are pretty useless when an aroused dog is bent on attacking you or your pup. I carry pepper spray and a small taser.

  112. My friend’s Sheltie was recently attacked by her neighbor’s pitbull. My friend and another neighbor were bitten as well and the dog has done this before. Had to have 2 surgeries and although the owner was the one to call the police and report her dog loose, she won’t pay the vet bills and my friend had to get an attorney. And the other owner runs a daycare! After that she got her dog a coyote vest. I’ve always had bigger dogs but now have a mini Aussie as well. Stories like this terrify me and I bought a coyote vest too. It has spikes on it and is made of Kevlar. I carry pepper spray and a knife, I am a gun owner as well but that can’t always be used in some surroundings. The vest would at least prevent serious injury while giving me time to get my knife

  113. Try buying and carry HORNET SPRAY. It is not regulated, you can get it in almost any store or online. Get several cans and practice with the contents of two or three of them ,to get to know the aim and distance. Practice in a safe area outside. Most of them spray 15 to 20 feet. Look for a spray not a foaming product. You can add this to some of the other good ideas offered above.

  114. I walk my 5 terriers together, and it seems that large dogs cannot resist wanting to come and get them (my boys talk trash when they see other dogs, this is true). I carry a shock stick with me every time I leave the house with my dogs. I have never had to touch the large dogs coming at us – apparently the sound when I activate it is enough to make the large dogs think better of getting close to us – they turn tail and run. I am sure hitting that button and making it crackel has saved my boys countless times from getting bitten by dogs that ignored their electronic fences; were “never aggressive before” according to their embarrased owners; or others that were just roaming around unattended.

  115. Instead of mace, pepper spray, and tasers, which you have to be somewhat close in order to effectively use, many law enforcement officers have advised women to use bee/wasp spray. They say it’s as effective as pepper spray and sprays a solid more accurate stream 20-25 ft away, and it’s cheaper too. It would give you more time and distance to ward off attacks especially if there is more than one aggressive dog coming at you. I haven’t experienced what you all have, thank God, I’m just suggesting a possibly safer way to protect yourselves in these horrible situations.

  116. Wow. Sad to see how many horrifying stories there are.

    My adopted greyhound and I have been accosted numerous times by aggressive dogs, but no injuries to either of us thankfully.

    I’d like to suggest a solution that doesn’t involve carrying a gun.

    1. Always look around while walking your dog. If you see a dog approaching off-leash, stand your ground with your dog close, and be authoritative. Do not scream, move, flail around, just try to be big and scary (I’m actually quite short, but I know how to look tough).

    I now always carry a canned compressed air horn and also a pepper-spray/tear gas combination. And of course my cell phone. All three are on a belt that I wear easily accessible outside my jacket.

    At night I also carry a large heavy metal flashlight.

    Yes, some dogs might not be stopped by an ear-splittingly loud horn or pepper spray and tear gas.

  117. Anyone who read the article and has issues with their dog and aggression, please search BAT dog training method. It’s the most effective method to modify aggression behavior. I tried many methods for my dog and this was absolutely the best one and worth the money I spent for the BAT certified trainer.

  118. As I write this, my dogs are recovering from an attack by two loose pit bulls as I walked them around my neighborhood. That was 48 hours ago. They will Eventually be fine physically (minus one dog ear) but the psychological toll is not yet known. I feel so bad for Zazu’s dad as I’m trying to get the images of the attack out of my head too. We are lucky- bystanders put themselves at risk to help and the attack was not as extreme as many of the stories told here. I did a lot correctly in the attack, yet in hindsight I need to be more prepared in the future. Some good ideas here in the comment section, from training to self- defense tools. I encourage everyone to take steps to make sure they don’t become a victim in this long list.

    Because I was also bit, they are facing being labeled a vicious dog. I hope the pit bulls who attacked my dogs are given the care they need to be successful pet citizens – by some different owner- the same owners should be allowed near a dog, or they need to be destroyed. All dog owners must be ultimately responsible for their dogs. But with larger breeds and breeds with powerful bites the margins between control and harm are much narrower. It’s not that pit bulls are inherently bad dogs (one of my dogs has some pit DNA), but the margin for owner error is smaller. Our laws and community should acknowledge this simple fact.

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